A bridge is defined as a structure carrying a road, path, railroad, or canal across a river, ravine, road, railroad, or other obstacle. When thinking about a bridge, the Golden Gate Bridge of San Francisco is a structure readily identified by most people. According to Wikipedia, it is a suspension bridge 4200 feet in length spanning across the Golden Gate strait linking the city of San Francisco to Marin County. It opened in 1937 and was, until 1964, the longest suspension bridge in the world. It is considered one of the most beautiful bridges in the world and likely the most photographed bridge.
Architecturally, bridges are fascinating but I am intrigued by bridges from a spiritual perspective as well. Matthew 14:22-33 records the account of Jesus walking on the water. Notice that Jesus was walking on water, not on a bridge! He was walking towards His disciples who were in a boat upon the water. The disciples were afraid when they saw a figure coming towards them. After Jesus identified Himself, Peter jumped out of the boat and began to walk on the water towards Jesus. He was not walking on a bridge either! As long as Peter kept his eyes upon Jesus, he was able to walk on water but when he thought about the turbulent sea below him, he began to sink. I suggest that Peter’s faith functioned as a bridge spanning the water separating Jesus and the boat of the disciples. Peter’s faith was the bridge that allowed him not only to reach his destination but to walk on water to get there. Just as faith was the connecting link between Peter and Jesus, our faith can join us to Jesus as well. It does not matter how deep the troubled sea of our lives may be, faith is our unseen bridge linking us to our Lord. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Although “we walk by faith, not by sight,” according to II Corinthians 5:7, we still have a bridge to walk upon that connects us with Jesus!
With faith as our bridge, I propose that we can also become a bridge. In Ezekiel 22: 30, the Lord says, “I looked for someone among them who would … stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it,…” The two “land masses” that needed joining by a bridge in this scripture are Jesus and unbelievers. This bridge must have two lanes for traffic with one lane going each direction. One lane brings the unbeliever before the Lord and the other lane brings the Lord to the unbeliever. God created us to be that bridge by our functioning as intercessors and witnesses. As intercessors, we bring others before the Lord in prayer presenting the individuals and their needs to Him. As witnesses, we introduce others to the Lord by sharing our testimony of how the Lord has worked in our lives. It is amazing how we can become a bridge standing in the gap by interceding in prayer and by witnessing through our testimony!
When I look back to my original definition of a bridge, I realize that bridges are designed by man. The Golden Gate Bridge was built by men over 75 years ago, yet it still stands today. When I compare Peter’s faith to a bridge, I understand that faith was something “built into” Peter during the three years he spent with Jesus and the other disciples. He grew in his understanding of the Lord and that deepened a relationship that resulted in faith which functioned as a bridge for him. While encouraging us to be bridges through interceding and witnessing, I recognize that it takes time and experience for us to grow in our prayer life and develop our testimony. These reflections remind me of the following words by John Piper, “The word ‘bridge‘ does not occur in the Bible. There may be two reasons. One is that God doesn’t build bridges, he divides seas. The other is that usually his people must pass through the deadly currents of suffering and death, not simply ride over them. ‘when you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you‘ (Isaiah 43:2).” So I conclude by saying, God does not build bridges as physical structures, but that does not mean He will not use us as bridges. However, He will only use us as bridges after we have passed through rough waters and experienced the need of a bridge.