There once was a turntable bridge that spanned a large river. During most
of the day, the bridge sat parallel with the tracks, allowing ships to pass
freely on both sides. But at certain times each day, a train would come
along and the bridge would be turned sideways across the river allowing the
trains to cross. A switchman sat in a small shack on one side of the river
where he operated the controls to turn the bridge and lock it into place as
the train crossed.
One evening as the switchman was waiting for the last train of the day to
come, he looked off into the distance through the dimming twilight and
caught sight of the train's light. He stepped to the controls and waited
until the train was within a prescribed distance when he was to turn the
bridge into position. He turned the bridge, but to his horror, found that
the locking control didn't work. If the bridge was not locked into
position securely, it would wobble back and forth at the ends when the
train came onto it. This would cause the train to jump the track and go
crashing into the river. The train was a passenger train with many people
aboard. He left the bridge, turned across the river, and hurried across
the bridge to the other side of the river where there was a lever he could
use to operate the lock manually. He could hear the rumble of the train
now. He took hold of the lever and leaned backward to apply pressure to
keep the mechanism locked. Many lives depended on this man's strength.
Then, coming across the bridge from the direction of his control shack, he
heard a sound that made his blood run cold: "Daddy, where are you?"
four-year-old son was crossing the bridge to look for him. His first
impulse was to cry out to the child, "Run, run!" but the train was too
close, the tiny legs would never make it across the bridge in time. The
man almost lifted the lever to run and snatch up his son and carry him to
safety, but he realized he could not get back to the lever in time. Either
the people on the train or his little son must die. He took just a moment
to make his decision. The train sped swiftly and safely on its way, and no
one aboard was aware of the tiny, broken body thrown mercilessly into the
river by the rushing train. Nor were they aware of the pitiful figure of a
sobbing man still clinging tightly to the lever long after the train had
passed. They didn't see him walking home more slowly than he had ever
walked, to tell his wife how he had sacrificed her son.
Now if you can comprehend the feelings which went through this man's heart,
you can understand the feeling of our Heavenly Father when he sacrificed
His Son to bridge the gap between us and eternal life. How does He feel
when we speed along through life without giving a thought to what was done
for us through his Son, Jesus Christ? Can there be any wonder that He
caused the earth to tremble and the skies to darken when His only Son died?