There is something powerfully nostalgic about a covered bridge. Being one of the few remaining windows into our past, the structures were not only romantic and beautiful, but useful as well. They spanned the world's waterways, completed roads and provided shelter from the elements for passers-by. They kept water out of the wooden joints where it might freeze during winter or cause rotting during the summer, they kept the bridge from drying out in very hot weather, and they kept the snow off the road. And finally, since the horse, the primary means of transportation in the covered bridge era, didn't particularly like crossing rushing rivers, the cover gave the bridge enough of a "barn" appearance that the animals were more likely to enter calmly and volitionally.

Why are bridges no longer covered?

Because their reasons for being covered are no longer valid. Bridges are no longer made of wood, they are no longer used by horses, etc., and the remaining covered bridges are but a sad reminder of what used to be.

On our way home from Cape Breton, we happened upon the Baker Brook Covered Bridge. Like what has happened to so many, this particular one is closed to motorized traffic and has been replaced by a larger, stronger concrete bridge that is much better suited for the quantity of heavy, fast traffic that now crosses the Baker Brook.

From our vantage point at the southern end, both the old bridge and the new one beside it were clearly visible. As I stared at the two, I couldn't help thinking that the new bridge is nothing but an eyesore. After all, why do we continually have to change things? What's wrong with the way things used to be?

This is a familiar sentiment to me in other parts of my life. Not being someone who deals well with change, the smallest problem or the tiniest interruption to "my" plans is not welcomed in the least. I believe that many of you can sympathize, for when a particular set of bad circumstances makes something that has been important to our lives redundant or perhaps no longer available, we grieve the loss. Maybe it is the child who grows up and moves away; or maybe it is the medical issue requiring that a body part be removed. Perhaps it is when a spouse decides he or she no longer wishes to be part of the family, or perhaps there has been a death in the family. Whatever it may be, just like the covered bridges of the past, the so important part of our lives has somehow been redeemed "redundant" and has been removed.

But let's not forget that when the Baker Brook Covered Bridge was closed, a new bridge was built. These two bridges over the Baker Brook serve to teach us a powerful lesson: When circumstances remove something of vital importance in our lives, we can trust God that our needs will still be met. Hasn't He promised to take care of us? "And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus." (Phil. 4:19 ESV). Even when our car is totaled and we are left without transportation; even when we are fired from our jobs; even when death has taken our loved one: God has promised that He will never forsake us: "Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you." (Deut. 31:6 ESV). Though there may no longer be a "cover" on the "bridge", God is and always will be, "...my hiding place and my shield..." (Ps. 119:114 ESV).

Hasn't He said that even when we are going through terrible times, He is our shepherd (See Ps. 23)? Doesn't He promise that we will want for nothing (vs. 1)? Doesn't He give us rest? Provide for our needs (vs. 2)? Doesn't He leads us to Salvation and a future with Him (vs. 3)? Doesn't He promise to be with us through the car crash, the bad medical diagnosis, the broken relationships (vs. 4)? Doesn't He promise us comfort and nourishment (vs 4b, 5)? That no matter where life leads us, His goodness and mercy will always be there, and at the end, we will dwell with Him forever (vs. 6)?

Will we miss the "covered bridges" of our lives?

Yes, naturally we will.

Do we need to worry about the future without them?

No. God is all we need.

Interestingly, when compared to the old covered one, the new, modern bridge over the Baker Brook is much stronger and much more able to withstand the quantity, speed and weight of modern-day traffic. Is it possible that one of the reasons the "covered bridges" of our lives are being "decommissioned" is to show us that God may have something even better in store for us? Though things will never be the "same" as before, perhaps God is in the business of making things more functional: "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." (Rom. 8:28 ESV).

I'm happy that those decommissioned covered bridges still stand, for they are a vivid reminder of past joys; but I thank God that when those "covered bridges" of our lives need to be decommissioned, He provides new and stronger ones for us to use!

In His love,
Lyn


Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.

(To access the entire "Lessons From Cape Breton" mini-series, please click here.)