The Bridge: A Haunting Story of Love
Train whistle howling, his son crying out for help, Gus, was eye to eye with a horrifying decision? Gus was the proud operator of a draw bridge over a busy river.
Each day he'd yank the levers that would elevate the old railroad bridge to allow passage of ships below.
One Saturday several years ago Gus invited his 10-year-old son Peter to spend the day with him at the bridge. Peter whooped with excitement. He'd always marveled at the bridge and its levers and big gears. His dad had the best job in the whole world, he figured.
As an old fishing boat eased up the river toward the bridge, Gus showed his son how the levers performed. With a grinding hum and a few creaks the old bridge separated and rose toward the autumn sky. Peter gasped and chortled while the boat crept upriver and out of sight.
Gus began watching his gauges and jotting notes in his report book. Then came the unmistakable sound that sent Gus back to his levers. The piercing whistle of the 10:05 southbound train. The 10:05 was a little early and a little late in blowing the warning whistle. Gus knew he must lower the bridge quickly to avoid a tragedy.
Gus' big gloved hands grasped the shiny levers and pulled. He looked over his shoulder for Peter. Where was the boy? "Peter!" Gus' stomach knotted as his eyes nervously darted up and down the bridge.
"Peter!!!" The bridge began its descent.
"Daddy! Daddy!" Frantic with worry, Gus peered over the edge and saw his son atop the huge bridge gears. The giant teeth of the rotating machinery had consumed the boy's jacket. Now his hand and arm were being devoured, slowly pulling his entire body into the grinding gears.
Gus reached for the levers. But there came the 10:05 loaded with passengers, whistle howling, roaring toward the bridge.
"DADDY! HELP ME!" The terror of the boy's voice seemed to pound within every muscle of his father's body.
Gus glanced at the train, then at his helpless son. In that split second, Gus was faced with deciding between the life of his son, or the hundreds of lives aboard the rushing train.
Gus held firm on the levers. The bridge continued its bow of mercy for the passengers aboard the train.
Gus wept as the machinery squeezed the life from his son. As the boy's shrieks melted into echoes, the 10:05 sped across the old bridge. The vacationing passengers had no idea what had just transpired below the bridge.
In air-conditioned comfort, they waved and smiled at Gus as they whizzed past.
Two thousand years ago a similar situation faced a loving Father. Much more was at stake back then. But, confronted with that awesome decision, the Father chose to allow His Son to die so that we could live.
Now we are faced with some haunting questions. How will we demonstrate to God that the life of His Son means more to us than waving and smiling as we go by? Are we willing to step out of our air-conditioned comfort and reflect God's love to those around us? What will it take to get our attention?