Today’s text is from Psalm 100.
There’s a saying about future events that says, “I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.” It’s a nice way of putting off possible future events until they finally crop up in the present.
It’s an easy way of skirting around issues until reality demands they be dealt with. But what happens when you finally get to that proverbial bridge and it turns out it’s not a bridge at all? What happens if it’s a mountain instead? Or a valley? What happens when even your worst case scenario couldn’t prepare you for what lies ahead?
This is what happened to famed explores Lewis and Clark. As they looked for water passage to the Pacific they simply assumed there would be enough rivers to complete the job.
Certainly there’d be literal bridges to cross – places where they would have to portage to go from river to river, but their future seemed perfectly mapped out: Simply bounce from river to river until they hit the Pacific Ocean.
There was just one problem with this nicely laid out plan: The Rocky Mountains. They had prepared for a future that involved traveling up rivers – not crossing mountain ranges. The bridge they now had to cross was different than they had ever imagined.
The problems that they now faced unimaginable; the solutions they needed were unheard of; nothing could prepare them for this change in plans, this obstacle they now faced, this bridge they were now crossing was not a bridge, but a mountain.
They had no idea what paths, roads, challenges, walls, traps, lay ahead. They could face certain death. Or it could be easy. Crossing this bridge they had now come to meant literally not knowing what was coming with each step. It would mean finding answers that didn’t yet exist to problems no one had ever seen before.
And yet they crossed this bridge, created the path, and dove into an unknown future day after day because they trusted one another: Together they forged a relationship that did not fail even when everything else did. A relationship that literally carried them from the Missouri to the Pacific.
Because sometimes this is all we have. Sometimes this is all we can hold on to. The reality that we are made in the image of God. That we are God’s children. That God’s love for us endures forever and does not fail. Sometimes all we have in this life is this reality – this relationship.
Now, it will seem at times we have failed to follow through on our end. At times it will seem like we have failed as God’s children. At times it will seem that there’s no way that God could possible love us. At times the world will tell us that there’s no way that God loves us or has saved us or claims us as God’s own.
But this is a promise – this is a reality – that God does not break. For God is in this journey with you for the long haul. God isn’t giving up. God isn’t backing down from a challenge. God isn’t going to quit. God isn’t going to disown us based on what we have or haven’t done or will do or for who we are.
Because you’re a child of God. And at the end of the day this is all that matters. That you are made in the image of God – forever marked and sealed by the Holy Spirit. That no matter where life takes us – because life is going to take us in directions we never thought possible or probable – life is going to take us across bridges we don’t want to cross, through valleys we don’t want to go, and across mountaintops that seem desolate and deadly.
Yet, through it all we can trust, we can have hope, we can have faith, we can live in love. For through God the Father you have been created, God the Son you have been saved, and God the Holy Spirit given faith.
And as you continue on this journey – into the unknown that is life – we can know that God is with us. Because God has made you, loves you, and is with you forever.