Andrew glared at the chief engineer. “You... you’ve got to be joking?”
The engineer looked at him steely-eyed. “The new cables have to be checked after that storm last night.”
Andrew knew it to be the truth, but these storms never hit just once. “You seriously want me to go out and inspect the lines with the storm about to hit again?”
“Well someone has to do it, and you’re the most expendable.”
Nice to be so highly valued, Andrew thought to himself sourly as he pulled on the safety boots and oilskin coat before heading out the door.
By the time he reached the bridge half an hour later, the storm had begun howling down from the peaks again. He paused at the edge of the bridge; it swayed and groaned as if in pain. Andrew stepped forward and grabbed a steel cable as a particularly strong gust of wind threatened to pick him up and send him crashing two hundred feet to the rocks below.
His radio crackled to life, “Andrew pick up.” He ignored it, and continued his way across the bridge checking each of the new guy wires. The bridge itself hadn’t been replaced, just the wires holding it in place. Another company cost cutting venture he had argued against, but being low man on the totem pole, his complaints had fallen on deaf ears.
The radio crackled again, “An..ew, Jack .aw a t.... ....ing ..r” the message was breaking up badly.
As he reached the far end of the bridge, a dozen or so local villagers rushed from the trees. All of them armed with spears and machete-type knives. Andrew stood stock-still. They’d never had anything but good relations with the local people; why should that change now. He considered turning and running, but doubted he could outrun a spear in the back.
The group charged towards him, throwing him roughly behind them and surged onto the bridge. Staggering to his feet, Andrew saw the object of their attack. Not him, but a huge tiger, now lying dead halfway along the bridge span.
The leader of the group turned to Andrew. “You not hurt?”
Andrew nodded, still a little shaken. “Yes; thanks. I mean, no, I’m not hurt.”
“I am Murugalah, come to our home and shelter from storm.” The spokesman for the villagers turned and led the way back towards the trees. Andrew followed gladly.
Sitting around a warm fire with Murugalah and his family it was hard to believe, that half an hour previously, he was almost on the menu for the tiger.
Murugalah looked at him keenly. “Have you come by the bridge?”
Andrew looked at him in surprise. “Yes, you saw me there; you met me at the bridge. You saved me from that tiger.”
Murugalah shook his head. “That bridge, yes, I saw you. Bridge that is more important you must cross. That bridge I need to know if you have crossed.” He turned to a small girl about six years old. “Suganthi, the book of the bridge.”
The child handed her father a hardbound book, then sat expectantly at his feet as he opened the book and showed a page to their guest. The picture showed a ravine with a group of happy people on one side and the figure of a man about to be attacked by a tiger on the other. The next picture showed a cross forming a bridge from one side of the ravine to the other. A third picture showed the man refusing to cross and being killed by the tiger while two others crossed the bridge, and were greeted joyously by those on the other side.
Murugalah pointed to the cross. “This the most important bridge.” He said grasping Andrew’s shoulder. “You have crossed it yet?”
Andrew realised what the pictures were about, and memories from his childhood came flooding back. Sunday school, his grandmother’s prayers, then as a teenager, committing his life to Christ. After a failed marriage, he had drifted away from Christ. He looked at Murugalah, “Yes, I have crossed that bridge, but I lost my way and find myself on the wrong side of the ravine again.”
“Once you have crossed, you have crossed. You must continue believing that in your heart and continue your journey. The bridge maker is waiting; seek His direction for the rest of your journey.”
Andrew prayed silently, thanking God for the storm that made it necessary for the bridge to be checked today.
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