Of Roads and Bridges

About 350 years ago, a shipload of travelers landed on the northeast coast of America. According to one author, the first year they established a town site. The next year they elected a town government. The third year the town government planned to build a road five miles westward into the wilderness. In the fourth year the people tried to impeach their town government because they thought it was a waste of public funds to build a road five miles into a wilderness. Who needed to go there?

What happened to these people? History has validated the foresight of the town government. But, what made the people, who most likely spent years planning their pilgrimage to this land in which they envisioned new freedom, become so short-sighted so soon?

During those early years, they had known their struggles. Hardships had been their constant companions. These, no doubt, took their toll on their spirits. They surely had their share of heartache, too. During this time, every family had likely known the heart-hammering pain of the death of at least one loved one. And, who can list the number of disappointments they had known?

Frequent setbacks, multiple heartaches and hounding hardships have a way of squelching the pioneering spirit. They leave people feeling deflated, defeated and in despair. In the face of such circumstances people are hardly able to focus on much more than surviving another day.

Indeed, survival for these people was not something to be trivialized. Survival, for them, had become everything—the only thing. Their concern for survival moved them to become self-absorbed. They could not see beyond their own interests and concerns to consider the needs of the next generation, much less generations to come.

These historical events are a microcosm of life. Though we are not faced with the same circumstances, what happened to these people often happens to us in our pilgrimage on earth. We have struggles that are just as real. Sometimes survival is just as much an issue for us as it was for them. As it did for them, these circumstances rob us of one of the most “cherishable” aspects of our Christian life. What is it? It is hope!

Hope is the context in which thoughts of a brighter tomorrow are developed today. Hope opens the door to opportunity. Hope beckons us to desire and expect great purposes to come to fruition in our lives. Hope causes us to lift up our self-absorbed eyes and see the possibilities for others—even those ensnared in sin. Hope challenges us to look beyond our present pain to the comforting embrace of a loving Father who truly cares. Hope springs from the open and empty tomb; and declares with a clarion voice that God is able to do immeasurably more than all that we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us. Hope anchors our souls firmly in heaven, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Thus, hope compels us to build for the future. Hope counsels: Plant trees from which others will enjoy the fruit. Pave roads on which others will drive. Hope affirms there is more to life than the here-and-now. So, live like it!

Where there is hope for tomorrow we can envision brighter days ahead. Why? Because, vision is like a bridge between the present and the future; and hope gives us the impetus to build that bridge. These early settlers in America seem to have gotten caught up in themselves and their circumstances, at least temporarily. Their hope for a brighter future appears to have been fading fast. Consequently, they could not see even five miles down the road.

What roads need to be built in your life? What is holding you back? Have the vicissitudes of life blinded your vision for the future? Don’t give up. Don’t give out. Don’t give in. There is Good News! The tomb was open and empty. Jesus has gone to be with the Father in heaven. Your hope is anchored in Him there. Never stop hoping; never stop envisioning a brighter future; and, never stop building bridges until you join Him there.

 

These two things cannot change: God cannot lie when he makes a promise, and he cannot lie when he makes an oath. These things encourage us who came to God for safety. They give us strength to hold on to the hope we have been given. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, sure and strong. It enters behind the curtain in the Most Holy Place in heaven. —Hebrews 6:18-19 (NCV)

© Bill Williams

May 31, 2006

About a fellow sojourner

a sojourner in life, trying to follow in the steps of Jesus.
This entry was posted in Blogroll, Church, Life, Spirituality & Religion. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Of Roads and Bridges

  1. Jennifer says:

    This is exactly what this weary, thirsty soul needed to hear this morning. I have been feeling pretty low, pretty hopeless. On my two hour ride home yesterday, I listened to a recorded conference from Beth Moore. God used it to speak this same message to me–don’t give up…hoping, believing, dreaming.

    I cried out to Him in truth, “But, Lord, I am just so tired. So weary. Help me please.”

    Thanks for this reminder of the word just given to me yesterday.

    His,
    Jennifer

  2. Angie says:

    Hey Friend! I just read today’s post… makes me sad that I’ve missed out on reading your blog as of late. I’ll have much catching up to do when I get back home. I’m still traveling (I’m visiting a friend in Euless, TX – in the DFW area – this week). And LAST NIGHT we were discussing some of the very things your post touched on… how to maintain a vision for life and learning to dream again. We were talking about all the things that get in the way of doing that – even though we are both single and in a great spot to be about so much more Kingdom life than we are…

    So, I truly appreciate your post, and in particular… the paragraph on hope.

    Just wanted you to know that through my travels, as I sit down here at a friend’s computer… you really have provided a spiritual oasis!

    Grateful for a sovereign King (and for blog friends!)

    Angie

  3. Greg England says:

    Bill: We don’t talk much about hope. I grew up in a theology that saw hope as a wish. “I hope I’ve done enough to be saved” type of mentality. We could never know.

    Hope is a powerful force in our lives. Hope in Christ is one of God’s greatest blessings! Thanks for a very good post!

  4. Your kind words are deeply appreciated, Jennifer. Remember: Hope beckons us to desire and expect great purposes to come to fruition in our lives. This thought is derived from Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”

    Dear road-weary-friend-Angie, My heart soars at the thought that my vision of a spiritual oasis online is doable. Our sovereign King has used your words, dear sis., to brighten my day!

    Thanks, Greg, for your gracious words. I was hoping this post would resonate with people. (jk)

  5. Dee Andrews says:

    Bill –

    This post on hope reminds me very much of a poem I wrote years ago during a very difficult (but very productive, poetry wise) period of my life. I called it “Stones” and it talks about choosing walls or building bridges. For you all tonight.

    STONES

    When I think of the number of years
    I’ve been alone
    Unknown, except to God

    Stones of sadness fill my heart
    Even today.
    Tears of grief form clay
    To mingle with the stones.

    What becomes of stone and clay?
    They can become a wall
    To shut out all the pain –
    But loneliness remains inside
    Residing in the dark cold cave
    Of heart – apart from everyone.

    Or they can become
    A bridge that reaches out to meet
    The stones of sadness
    Others seek to use.
    We can fuse the stones
    With intermingled grief

    And find relief in crossing
    To the other side, no long hiding
    All alone.
    We realize that we are known
    As others – to God.

    Dee O’Neil Andrews

  6. Bill says:

    Dee,

    Thank you so much for sharing these lines, which flowed from your heart.

    You ask, "What becomes of stone and clay?"

    We must decide, with the dawning of each new day.

    Grace and peace to you,
    -bill

  7. Cecil says:

    Thanks Bill. I needed to hear that hopeful message today.

  8. Dee Andrews says:

    You’re right about that – we must decide at the dawning of each day. Luckily for me, about the same time that I wrote those words in my poem, I providentially (imho) met Tom and my life has been forever blessed since. Thank God for such blessings.

    Well said. Thanks.

  9. Daphne says:

    I am a person who has struggled her whole life financially and and have been held back by my fears to try to change anything.I have been stuck in a job I hate for the last 9 years and have not had the courage to leave it.I am now realizing that i do have choices, i can change my circumstances and i can make my life the way i want it.I have begun to read all the self help books i can and I have found a wonderful opportunity that will help me get where i desire to be financially,leave my current job and have the life i have alays dreamed of.HOPE got me to this point. Im not there yet, but I am filled with HOPE and i know in my heart I can make my dreams come true as long as hope fills my heart.Thanks for such a wonderful blog.

    Daphane Waggle

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