Some time ago in my life I decided to not look at natural circumstance but rather to listen to the Holy Spirit so that I could know the mind and heart of God. Since that time I have had many experiences that show when God asks us to do something then no matter what circumstances seem like…there is a way forward. Let me tell you one such story. It is a true story that happened in 1993 while I was in the state of Kentucky in the south of the USA.
One day I set out for a drive early in the morning. As was my habit I would have no plan but would simply ask the Holy Spirit which way I should go. I was trying to learn how to hear the voice of God by asking Him to speak to me and then following exactly what He said. That day the Holy Spirit directed me to drive down a certain country road and as I drove down this road I came upon a sign that said “Bridge Out”. Naturally, I stopped my small 4-wheel drive vehicle, and began to turn around, however, just as I was about to change direction I heard God’s voice say, “Go forward”. Go forward? Why, I thought to myself, should I go forward? The bridge is out! Again, the voice of God said, “Go forward”. I said to God, “O.K., if you want me to go forward I will go forward”.
I drove perhaps 1/2 mile and came upon a bridge that was under construction and as I drove to the beginning of the new bridge I could see that indeed the bridge was only half finished and abruptly ended in the middle of a ravine. Stopping my vehicle I looked around and thought to myself, “now what? As I wondered why God had led me to that place again the voice said to me, “Go forward”. “What?” “Go forward?” “Go forward onto a half finished bridge?” “Why Father?” “Is this really you God?” and God simply said, “Go forward”.
I put my vehicle in gear and slowly drove up onto the unfinished bridge in obedience to God’s voice…believing less and less that I was actually hearing from Him. Now I sat in the middle of the unfinished part of the bridge and clearly seeing where the bridge construction stopped, half way across the ravine, and where the construction started again on the opposite side. I could also see there was at least a 25 foot drop to the bottom. I was seriously doubting myself and my ability to hear the voice of God now…after all, I was being told to drive across a ravine on an unfinished bridge! I sat for about a half an hour wondering why God had brought me there and what I should do and then I heard the voice of God say, “Go forward.” Now I truly began to feel fearful. There was tightness in my stomach and panic began to well up in my chest because I wondered…was I listening to God or was it all just my own mind? Or worse yet…was I listening to a demon that wanted to kill me?
I could clearly see that the bridge dropped off in the middle of the ravine and that if I obeyed the voice I was hearing I would surely die. Yet the voice I heard was the same voice that I always heard when God talked to me. I now doubted if I had ever heard God’s voice because of what I was being asked to do. It was a crisis a faith…I had devoted a lot of my life to listening to what I thought was God’s voice and now that same voice was asking me to do something that would lead to certain death. I sat for a very long time in my small vehicle, and wondered what I should do. It seemed like my mind was a battlefield as I struggled, thought, and pondered. Finally I heard the voice say, Get out of the truck” and so I did.
I slowly walked towards the edge of the unfinished bridge that hung over the ravine. It was at least 25 feet down to the bottom. Every step I took towards the edge seemed to only confirm what I knew to be true, there was no way forward and I had somehow gone mad and was listening to a voice that was not the voice of the Holy Spirit. As I neared the end of the bridge I looked over into the ravine suddenly seeing something that surprised me greatly. Literally, you could not see it until you came to the very edge of the unfinished bridge. I saw a big mound of dirt pushed up from the bottom of the ravine to just below the lip of the concrete upon which I stood. Had I not gotten out of the truck and taken a look I would have never seen it! It was very steep and there was about a foot drop off from the end of the bridge to the mound of dirt, but it looked like I could make it. I climbed back into my vehicle and put it in low gear and 4 wheel drive and drove towards the edge of the unfinished bridge. I crept over the edge, down the pile of dirt, across the dry creek bed, and up the other side of the ravine and onto the normal pavement and continued on my way.
This was a very important lesson for me and it is one that I have thought about every time that I feel that God is calling me to do something that seems impossible to my natural mind.
Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not yet seen. Many times it takes great courage and faith on our parts to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. The walk of faith, especially when it contradicts our natural senses, is not easy. However, the fact is that we are all called to lead a Spirit led life. If we truly desire to grow into the fullness and the stature of Christ we will, figuratively speaking, be called to “drive over ravines on bridges that are not there” at some point.
Our personal journeys are step by step and often times God will not show us more than the next step forward. This is where trust comes in…a trust not based upon what we know but upon who we know. If you desire to follow Jesus you will come to your own bridge someday, just know that even though everything in the natural may seem to say different, God has surely made a way forward.