Growing up in Stewart County and learning to drive in the 70’s came with the fear of driving over the old Dover bridge. It causes me to shake right now thinking about meeting an eighteen-wheeler as I crossed over that narrow, two lane structure providing passage over the water below. However, driving from Bumpus Mills, that bridge offered the entry into Dover and the beloved Dairy Dip where my friends and the best little hamburger ever awaited me.
Over the last ten years, on three separate occasions, different people prayed with me and all used a specific word as they prayed.
“Rhonda, you are a bridge…”
In Alabama, at a non-profit board meeting…
In Chattanooga, after a church service; the pastor said…
In our home church, with our pastor’s wife…
All three times, each person placed their hand over my head and said, “Rhonda, you are a bridge…”
Many words have been used to describe me in the past; a few I’m proud of, many—well, not so much. However, you have to admit, this is an interesting description. Webster’s definition gives a plethora of information about the many ways a bridge is used, but let’s keep it simple: a bridge is used to connect something…or someone.
Then 2020 happened. Division. Dissension. Enmity. Anger. Disputes. We all know our nation is in trouble; witnessing it happen within our churches and our families is often more than a heart can bear.
“Rhonda, you are a bridge…”
Yes Lord, I remember, but what does that mean?
“…refuse foolish and ignorant speculations, knowing that they produce quarrels. The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.” 2Timothy 3:23-26
Visualize this with me. On one side, you have the enemy of this world setting snares to keep us in opposition, quarreling and fighting with one another. On the other side—God, who is peaceable and loving. In the middle, the bond-servant, who uses words of kindness, patience and gentleness, and is used to lead others across the chasm from the trap to the knowledge of the truth.
You might ask—What is a bond-servant?
“…Jesus, who, although existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant…” Philippians 2:6-7
Jesus, as a bond-servant, is the bridge that provides the only access to God Himself.
“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” 1Timothy 2:5
“Rhonda, you are a bridge” echoed in my ears.
“For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.” 1Peter 2:21
Many of you have heard me reference my life as, “Rhonda before Jesus and Rhonda after Jesus.” Those that knew the old and new have seen the distinct difference. You see, after I grabbed His hand and began to walk with Him, following His steps, there was no turning back. Why? The life offered to me on the other side was so much sweeter.
In hindsight, I can see how I resisted the path that Jesus offered. I didn’t listen to His words, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” My “way” was better—or so I thought. You too? Jesus’s life offered me the bridge that lead to something better, but the enticement of the world, my flesh and the voice of the enemy kept pulling me back. Was I scared? Yes. It was like meeting the eighteen-wheeler on the Old Dover Bridge. Early on, I paused and crossed over at turtle speed. Not any more.
Oh Jesus, I now clearly see that I, too, am a bridge…a connection…that is to lead by example someone else to You.