Driving around New Zealand was quite the experience. It was exciting, enjoyable, and scenic. It was also a bit nerve wracking, difficult, and strange. First off, they drive on the wrong side of the road. (Obviously, the side we drive on is the correct side. After all, it is the right side!) Since the steering wheel is on the wrong side of the car, it’s not really too difficult to figure out what side to drive on; just steer close to the middle of the road. Of course, it is possible to experience some difficulty in turning, especially turning right, and going into the correct lane, (not that this bothered me too much, just a dozen times or so.)
The Kiwi’s do not believe in building straight roads. Now, this is often made necessary by the plethora of hills, mountains, canyons and lakes, but even when none of these are around they still add curves. Guard rails and shoulders are also considered unnecessary luxuries, especially in the mountains. But the most interesting thing to encounter while driving in New Zealand is the bridges.
I can imagine a conversation that took place a decade or three ago between the Minister of Highways, the Minister of Finance, and the rest of the Cabinet. The Highways Minister approached his colleague to say, “I have the final estimates for our road building plans. We have determined that we need to build another ten thousand bridges.”
The Finance Minister was aghast. “We can’t do that. We can only afford to build five thousand bridges.”
“Well, what do you propose? We can’t have people driving into ravines or rivers.”
The Minister for Foreign Affairs spoke up. “That might be bad for tourism.”
“Mind your own business,” the Finance Minister replied before turning back to the Minister of Highways. “You’ll just have to think of something else.”
“Hmmm, well, what if we build ten thousand half bridges?”
“What? Build them half way across a canyon? That’s hardly a solution.”
“No, no. We’ll make them only one lane wide. That way they won’t cost as much.”
“Won’t people notice?”
“Not until it’s too late. And besides, they’ll just be happy to have any sort of a bridge.”
The Foreign Minister couldn’t help himself. “But what about the tourists? Won’t they be frightened by a one lane bridge?”
The Minister of Finance just smirked. “No, we’ll just tell them it’s a new form of bungee jumping!”
“Works for me.”
The reality is we need bridges. Without them, whether one lane or four lane, we would be stuck on the wrong side; the wrong side of a river, the wrong side of a ravine, the wrong side of life. There is a chasm greater than anything you’ve ever seen. It’s greater than the Grand Canyon, deeper than the Mariana Trench, wider than the Pacific. It is the gap between us and God. It is the sin that separates us from God and from his gift of eternal life. Nothing we can do can bridge that gap. On our own, we can never cross the chasm.
We don’t have to. Someone else paid the price. Someone else bridged the gap. We only have to believe and accept.
“For there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity–the man Christ Jesus.” 1 Timothy 2:5