Crossing Bridges

Two are better than one,
    because they have a good return for their labor. – Ecclesiastes 4:9

 

This summer my aunt and uncle came to visit us. It was their first trip to Papua, and we wanted to make sure we packed in as much adventure as we could, so we planned a trip into the mountain town of Wamena.

One of the days we were there, my husband David did a training flight with one of our newer pilots, so the rest of us went on an outing with my friend Debbie and her kids. We drove out of the town and into the countryside and parked near a river. Our plan was to cross the river and walk along the gardens and into the hills and picnic.

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The only problem was the rickety bridge we had to cross. Now, my kids and I have lived in Indonesia for many years and we understand that bridges can be anything from vines twisted together to some planks slapped onto some cable. We had experience in crossing sketchy bridges – that didn’t mean that we loved doing it, but we could do it, especially if the local people felt confident doing it.

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My aunt Mary, however – who is usually up for anything – balked when she saw the bridge. Granted, there were a few wooden planks missing, and it did sway slightly (okay, a lot) when someone was walking on it. But in her mind that bridge was a death trap.

The kids went flying across it, and my uncle and my friend followed them. I hung back with Aunt Mary, and coaxed her across. For her it was nerve-wracking, and I felt like she just needed some encouragement.

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“You’ve got this, Aunt Mary! Watch out for that split board, there you go, put your foot right in the middle, on the cable, you can do it. Look, we’re halfway across! No, don’t look down, just one foot in front of the other.” And so on until she had made it safely across. And I’m so glad she did, because it was a lovely walk and picnic.

Later as I reflected on the crossing of the bridge, I thought about how sometimes – in life – I am the person who needs the encouragement to take the next step, to trust the board, to have someone just a little bit in front of me, advising me. And, at other times, I get to be the guide for someone else, encouraging them to step out in faith and trust where God leads. I believe God designed us to help each other in this way, to guide and be guided, through life’s challenges.

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