A transitional passage between two points.
Last week 147 led another mission trip into Honduras. It was awesome, difficult, physically challenging, enlightening, exhausting, renewing, happy, sad, eye opening and rewarding. Lives were changed in both those who served and those that were served. The memorable moments were vast, deep and wide…too many to tell…but there is one I must share.
On the last day of the trip we stopped at a bridge that traversed the river we crossed every day to go to Monterrey, the village where most of our work is centered this summer. Parallel to this bridge was the old bridge. It was an old suspension bridge for walking across the river…cables strung from one bank to another with old wooden boards tethered to the bottom cables to walk on. We saw it every day and many were intrigued by it. I asked the locals about it and was assured it was okay but as I walked upon it alone to test it I have to say that even though I was reasonably reassured by the local intel I didn’t feel totally comfortable. It was scary enough to just look at but to actually step on it? A whole different story.
As the team members rushed to the starting point it was all excitement and giggles and bravado. Not for long my friend, not for long…It was 25 or 30 feet off the floor of the river bottom and probably 200 yards (2 football fields) long. It wiggled and swayed as you walked and the rusty side fence and hand cable seemed much too low to actually provide much safety. Silence…questions…hesitancy…looking back. Is this a good idea?
As I watched the team cross, some more cautiously than others, something told me that this event was something big. That I should always remember this…and I will. I could not really verbalize it at that moment but God was showing all of us something important. That bridge crossing was symbolic of our journey. I think it has context for everyone who does this thing we call missions.
When we are first called to serve, to cross that swinging bridge, there is a ton of excitement, happiness and bravado…” We’re gonna go do this and this and this and it’s gonna be awesome!” As we get closer and closer and the task at hand begins to come into focus we get a little bit less excited…maybe doubting…maybe afraid…maybe questioning the wisdom of our decision and the leaders who actually convinced us that this was a good idea. Maybe ready to turn back. “What the heck am I doing?” we say to ourselves.
Say hello to Satan, the liar.
The transition begins as we become resolved to cross that bridge. As we go forward little by little swaying and bouncing, we experience happiness and fear, joy and anguish, being sure and being doubtful all at the same time. We also experience times of great
faith and little faith back to back. But we walk across that bridge. Some quickly, some slowly, some cautiously, some with no fear. But we go.
When the journey across the bridge is over we rejoice…relief, tears, laughter, high fives, hugs, hallelujahs and whispered prayers of thanksgiving. We have passed between two distinct points in our lives. We have actually experienced the bridge Jesus came to show us…the bridge between the kingdoms of heaven and earth.
But then, incredibly, in spite of it all…here it comes…We hear ourselves say, “I want to do it again…”