The picture above shows the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. It’s not only functional but also beautiful. However, that wasn’t always true. You may remember in 1989 during the Loma Prieta earthquake, a huge chunk of the upper bridge broke, which led to the building of the new bridge which took years to finish.
The new bridge was finally completed in 2013 and today it is both attractive and purposeful. It’s also quite unique. If you Google information on this bridge, you will read all kinds of interesting facts about the unique shape and character of the bridge, which was designed to fit the exact contours of the landscape.
Some interesting facts about this bridge include:
- The project ended up costing 6.8 BILLION dollars!
- It’s the widest bridge in U.S.
- As many as 260,000 vehicles cross this bridge every day.
Now, I would like you to consider how the Bay Bridge is much like your life. On the surface of the bridge, there is a great deal of activity and movement. The surface of the bridge is also where the extra weight is carried, with numerous vehicles adding their weight to the burden the bridge must hold up. Similarly, on the surface of each of our lives there is a great deal of activity and we carry many loads each day as we manage issues of health, family, finances, etc. However, as mentioned above, the bridge is unique, purposeful, and beautiful, and so is your life because it is designed and crafted by God.
Now, think about the underside of the bridge–the part we don’t usually see. It was built to withstand earthquakes up to an 8.9 magnitude, and it’s meant to last for more than 150 years (which is more than any of us are meant to last on this earth!). To make this possible, there are deep pilings that go down below the water to give the foundation and support needed to hold the bridge up under al the weight and allow it to stand strong, even in an earthquake. The underside is the quiet side of the bridge, the under-appreciated side, the absolutely necessary side.
Like this bridge, we have a visible side that is active, busy, and doing good work. We also have an underside–our foundation in Christ. If we have deep pilings, going down into Jesus our Rock, we will have the foundation needed to do all the good things in our lives that God calls us to.
Reflecting on the underside of the bridge invites us to consider our foundation, and to “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). In the Message paraphrase of this verse, it paraphrases “be still,” as “step out of traffic.” In other words, don’t live your life in the fast lane–get out of the traffic and be still with God. This is an apropos thought as we consider the busyness of the surface of the bridge. There is much good activity going on there, but we need to regularly step out traffic and reconnect with God’s presence and his still, small voice.
In the original Hebrew, the phrase “be still” carries the meaning of “let go of your grip.” In other words, open your hands; don’t live in a grasping way. Instead of trying to hold ourselves up by our own strength, we are to hold on tight to God. We are to sink our pilings deep into the bedrock of Christ and trust him to hold us up through the earthquakes of life.
Take some time today to slow down and ask God to show you where in your life he is inviting you to sink down deeper into Him–your foundation. Take a moment and ask God to draw you closer and help you sink down deeper into him, no matter what stress, anxiety you may be experiencing. Ask God to strengthen your foundation so, just like the Bay Bridge, you will be able to withstand the earthquakes of life.