Back in 1980 I narrowly missed the collapse of the Perkins Road bridge over Nonconnah in Memphis, having driven across the bridge two minutes before it fell. As I remember, a couple of people died in that tragic bridge failure. It’s been a long time, but I seem to remember one victim being a member of the Memphis State football team. Since then I have always been a bit on edge when driving over bridges. The longer and higher the bridge, the more uneasy I get. There is one bridge near Annapolis, MD that is so high it just petrifies me every time I drive over it, which thankfully, is not too often.
The recent collapse of the Interstate 35 W Bridge over the Mississippi River in Minneapolis has not helped my feelings of unease. But the news I read this morning about that bridge collapse makes me even more concerned about bridge safety. What do you think caused the I-35 W bridge to fall? Faulty design? Extreme heat and cold? The increased number of vehicles pounding on the bridge each day? Missing bolts? Cracking steel?
Now investigators are concerned that the buildup of pigeon dung might have contributed to the tragic collapse. All together, now — pigeon dung? That’s right, apparently the dung has a chemical makeup than can accelerate rusting.
But isn’t that the way it often is when someone collapses? A couple that seems perfectly happy unexpectedly files for divorce. A deacon is involved heavily in a ministry one day and the next he has walked away, breaking all ties with the church. A woman who has lived by faith for years just decides she has had enough. How often are hidden, unseen, seemingly insignificant factors eventually seen to contribute to the cause of the tragedy of broken relationships or lost faith?
- Repressed anger buried deep in the heart becomes bitterness
- Little misrepresentations erode trust
- Refusal to communicate openly and honestly quietly destroys fellowship
- Strain of trials and burdens, pain and fear take their toll on faith
- Unconfessed sin eliminates joy
How can we inspect our hearts so as to prevent such a collapse? Being self-aware of family-of-origin issues can help identify the root of bitterness. Over time, honesty can rebuild trust. Same-day conversation about relationship stressors can strengthen fellowship. Time with God can fortify faith. Acknowledging sin can renew joy. The best way to begin the process might be opening up our hearts to God, inviting Him to examine those hidden, unseen places deep down beneath the surface.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”