The Alarm Bridge
Shortly after I turned ten, my parents bought something for their children – eight acres of heavily wooded property. A creek ran along the south edge and then cut across the east end. Old timber had fallen across the water creating footbridges for the courageous. This was by all definitions a childhood paradise. The fact that we practically camped on our property for the first few months while electricity was brought in, the well was dug, and other amenities were put into place didn’t matter. These missing touches of civilization only served to enhance our adventure.
Before long, however, we faced a challenge. The creek blocked the most logical entry to our property. At first we drove through the creek; but when autumn arrived and the “true” rainy season of Western Washington approached, driving through the swollen creek was no longer an option.
Something had to be done, and dad had a plan – a plan for some chunks of old guard rail he’d picked up cheap as scrap metal. I’d be untruthful if I told you I knew exactly how he put the bridge together. On the surface all you could see was guard rail, lying on its side, bolted down to more metal with four inch gaps between each piece.
Tentatively we took the maiden drive across the bridge, and a loud rattling sound was produced as the tires rotated slowly underneath us. “It may be noisy, but believe me, this bridge will hold,” Dad assured us. And hold it has. For over 30 years now, buses, cars, dump trucks, tractors and more have safely crossed the bridge.
Eventually we moved into a house with plumbing, phones, and electricity; but one thing never changed – our bridge. At first dad wondered if he should do something about the racket, but we soon grew used to the sound, and nothing like that distinctive rattle could throw people into a frenzy like it did.
Imagine a lazy Saturday afternoon. Kids are lounging around, mom is baking cookies, and dad has just come in from the garage covered in grease. Then from far down the driveway, a clattering of metal is heard. For a moment everyone stands motionless, and then a family member cries the alarm, “Someone’s coming!” From experience we know we have 90 seconds, maybe even 2 full minutes before visitors will be knocking on the front door.
90 seconds isn’t a lot of time, but we could accomplish a whole lot in that brief space. “Ethan, grab the vacuum cleaner. Just the living room, quick!” mom would holler. “Leigh, Amy now, pick up the front room. Laura check the bathroom.” As we scurried around cramming stuff into available closets, mom swept the kitchen and dad changed his shirt. When the unexpected “guests” arrived at the front door, one might think we’d been waiting all afternoon for them to arrive – just so long as no one opened the coat closet.
90 seconds isn’t a lot of time, but it is time. The Bible warns us that when Christ returns, we will have no time – no time to decide maybe the Bible was true after all – no time to run down the road to our neighbors and tell them God loves them and sent His Son to die for them – no time to start living for God. Time will be out. Live for God now! Your time is short.
For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus shall we always be with the Lord. I Thessalonians 4:16 – 17