When it was decided to build a bridge across the river at Niagara Falls, they faced a big problem. They needed one rope across the river to start the suspension bridge. But the river was too deep to wade, too wide to throw the rope across, and too swift and turbulent to take it across by boat. Finally they came up with a simple and yet ingenious idea.
They flew a kite across the river. Once it had been caught on the other side, a cord was tied to its string. Eventually the cord was used to pull the rope across the river. That was the beginning of the suspension bridge that now spans Niagara Falls.
There are times when something comes between individuals – something said or done, a gesture, a disagreement, a misunderstanding, jealousy, a memory, or a host of other things. What ever it is, it stands between the two persons and holds them apart and keeps them from getting close. It doesn’t take long for the gulf to widen to the point that the parties involved may think the gulf can not be bridged. With God there is always hope and there are always possibilities for the bridge to become a reality. Yet the best time to build it is when the span between you and the other person is small. The larger the gap, the more difficult the task of bridge-building becomes.
Gaps and gulfs can occur between you and a family member, you and a loved one, you and a friend or co-worker, you and a fellow Christian, or you and a neighbor. They most often occur with people we love and relate with. Take a moment and hold both hands out in front of you. Are they bothering each other? Are they an irritation to each other? Well, now rub them together. It won’t take long for friction to be quite evident and we will pull them apart. It is normally when we get close that friction occurs and the normal result of friction is to do away with the closeness. I believe God wants us to be close and to work together. Therefore we need to learn how to deal with the tension and friction that is inevitable when we do draw close. Ignoring it or pulling away are never good solutions.
I’m aware that the illustration of hands is faulty in many ways, but let’s continue to think in this way just a little longer. One solution to two hands rubbing against each other is to use hand lotion. That would allow closeness and ease off the pain of the rubbing together. So how might that translate over to our tension filled relationships?
- Jesus has often been referred to as the “Balm of Gilead” – the healing ointment for our relationship problems. He is called the “mediator” in I Timothy 2:5 – the mediator between man and God as well as mediator between individuals. Ephesians 2:14 states, “For He is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility…”. The key solution to relationship problems is Jesus, the only one who knows all hearts involved, while we are confused about just the outer appearances.
- There are 4 simple words, when spoken with the whole heart, that can become sweet ointment to strained and painful relationships. Those words are “I’m sorry” and “I forgive”. Numerous times I have watched lives change and relationships begin healing after those words have been said. I’ve seen faces brighten and backs that were bent under a weight of guilt straighten up after the exchange of those words.
God is a bridge-builder – a peace-maker – a reconciler. As His children, He desires that we be like him. What kite can you try and send across your Niagara River situation – over the troubled waters that are separating you and another? A telephone wire can be the string of your kite, for instance; or any number of tiny gestures can be the start of your bridge of reconciliation.
Needing a Bridge over Troubled Waters too,