Recently I had the privilege of accompanying a group of school children on a field trip to a local education outreach program. The instructor had a great lesson on “The Forces of Bridges”. She began with a slide presentation showing diagrams of the different parts of bridges focusing on the types of “stress” each one endures. Many pictures of actual bridges from around the world and local were then compared. The children asked questions and were very respectful. (The youngest ones especially liked the little carpet squares they sat on) The students then followed directions and built a small bridge using the plastic pieces given in a ziplock bag. The teacher made certain that all the pieces were properly inventoried and put back. Moving into a larger room the students then used their creativity based on the lessons learned, and built their own bridges out of paper, popsicle sticks and straws. These bridges were then tested to determine the weight it could hold on the road bed. All the bridges passed with flying colors! Well done children!!!
This engaging activity, while revealing the forces that act upon bridges, also reminds us of the stresses wearing down upon each human life. Physics identifies tension, torsion, compression and shearing as four major stresses. Torsion is the twisting force similar to wringing out a towel or the feeling of ones stomach “in knots”. The word of God can also be twisted, or changed even slightly, to mean something other than the truth. Shearing is the force that cuts, like pruning a branch from a tree, Goliaths head from his neck, or the wicked being cut off from the love of God. Tension is the force that pulls things apart, like a new cloth from an old cloth after being sewn together, or the force that pulls family bonds apart. Compression crushes things. The heavy weight of a steel bridge pushing down on the abutments require deep foundations to support this tremendous force. People deal with the heaviness of sin, frustration, guilt and disappointment constantly crushing down upon their spirits. Without the strong foundation of Jesus in our lives we would crumble and our lives reduced to rubble. Praise God our Father, that we have been counted worthy of His love and His help. He desires for His children to be at peace and to stand firm performing the work we were built up for. When we fully rely on Him through His word and by faith in His Son, Jesus, we learn to use the stress life puts on us for good, because we love the Father. God provides us the instructions to follow, and the help we need to build holy lives, Godly families and His glorious church. This process began with the cross of Christ which bridged the chasm, the great divide, that separated man from God. Only those who believe and obey His word can cross over from sin to glory and righteousness. This bridge, however, is temporary and will be destroyed along with the forces of darkness. On that “day of the Lord” His children will dwell with Him forever on the other side.