Thursday, February 11, 2016

When the Bridge Fell

It had been raining most of the week in New York State when my friend and I drove across the New York State Thruway bridge spanning the Schoharie Creek near Amsterdam late on a Saturday afternoon on our way back to Long Island.

The placid Schoharie Creek below had swelled to a churning, rushing river. No one knew that the flood waves were undermining the steel and concrete piers that supported the bridge.

The next morning, April 5, 1987, as a lady traveled westbound on the Thruway, her dog became very restless. She stopped to let it exercise along the side of the highway just before crossing the Schoharie Creek Thruway Bridge.

Schoharie Creek Thruway Bridge Collapse Courtesy
As she got out of the car, she heard a tremendous roar. She turned just in time to witness the bridge collapse into the creek below.

The way the bridge had been situated made it nearly impossible to see that it was gone until it was too late to stop. As traffic approached, the lady stepped out into the roadway and waved frantically, desperately trying to warn the vehicles to stop before they would plunge into the abyss.

To her horror, five drivers ignored her, and their vehicles disappeared into empty space. One even flipped her an obscene gesture as he passed--just moments before he plunged to his death. Ten people lost their lives before anyone heeded her warning.

It reminds me of Hebrews 11:7, which describers how the people of Noah's day derided him for 120 years as he warned of the coming judgment of the Great Flood. Only eight people of that day heeded his warning and were saved.

Today, God's witnesses stand on the highway of life, warning people of God's impending judgment. Many ignore us. Others get angry, mock or ridicule, or even persecute us. But we must not quit warning them.

Ezekiel 33:9 says that if the watchman on the wall doesn't warn the people of impending danger, their blood will be on his hands. If we as Christians don't issue the warning of judgment yet to come on this sinful world, their blood will be on our hands.

Romans 10:14, NLT asks, "How can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless [we tell] them?"

"So what makes us think we can escape if we ignore this great salvation?" says Hebrews 2:3, NLT.

As we enter this season of Lent leading up to the celebration of Holy Week and the Resurrection, let's ask ourselves the question: Are we good watchmen, warning of the dangers to come? Or, are we neglecting this great salvation made possible by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ?

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