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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Stay or Go?

"The hardest thing in life to learn is which bridge to cross and which to burn." (David Russell) There is certainly some deep wisdom in those words. I think there are times when we wrestle with allowing a bridge to remain and when it should be "taken out" for good. While some bridges bring us to new places us, allowing us safe passage into areas we haven't been before, others allow us to go back to places we should never return to again!

13 Brothers and sisters, I know that I still have a long way to go. But there is one thing I do: I forget what is in the past and try as hard as I can to reach the goal before me. 14 I keep running hard toward the finish line to get the prize that is mine because God has called me through Christ Jesus to life up there in heaven. (Philippians 3:13-14 ERV)

Bridges are designed to support us as we get somewhere. They are prepared with the greatest of care because they are taking us places not so easily discovered or enjoyed without their use. I have crossed suspension bridges high above deep ravines with rushing water far below, and lofty trestle bridges creaking as I pass. Neither of these made me feel all that secure as I crossed over, but I am here today to tell you I made it! Some of the most difficult ones to cross have brought me to the most amazing places in my life!

The bridges I think I actually need to destroy in my life are probably not the rickety ones, or the ones swaying in the wind, but they are the ones which have been well-maintained and easily crossed far too many times for me to count. They are the ones that get me squarely into the territory of anger, distrust, and bitterness. They are paved with jealousy, pride, and fear. Their signs point me in directions justified as "getting me what I deserve", not into directions of getting me into what is "need".

There is much effort put into maintaining some of these bridges - sometimes way more effort than the bridge took to build in the first place! Yet, the places I frequent because of these bridges aren't fertile ground for good growth in my life. They might produce growth, but it ranges from brambles to outright weeds that choke out the good growth God desires for me. Rather than maintain them, I should be blowing them up! 

If you have ever heard the story of Lot and his wife, you will recall an angel of the Lord came to Lot warning him to get out of his hometown because there was about to be an awful destructive force coming against that town. They had become so complacent in their sin that God was bringing judgment. There are times when God isn't going to allow us to just ignore that complacency - he will give us the warning to "get out of Dodge" and then it is time to take action.

The sad part is that Lot's wife looked back - she longed for the bridge that would take her back. If you recall the story, she never made it back! She also never made it to her destination! There is much that needs to be done to destroy our connection with these places of "sinful complacency" - there is nothing wrong with destroying these bridges! Just sayin!