I grew up in St. Petersburg, Florida. It was truly a wonderful place to live—beautiful beaches, great weather, and great people. My parents moved after college so I don’t get there very often anymore.
During college I drove home taking US-75 to US-275 through Tampa; and when thetires of my car would connect to the Howard Franklin Bridge, I felt I was home.A deep joy flooded my soul. One time I clapped the whole way across (I wasn’tdriving and I’m sure it was annoying to the car load of spring breakersI was bringing with me).
The Howard Franklin is a very long bridge (across Tampa Bay), and I think thereis a warning sign as you approach to check your gas tank. If you are passingtime before your flight and happen to have the misfortune of mistakenly takingthe exit to the Howard Franklin when you are low on gas, you quite possibly won’tmake it across (which happened to me recently). I gained some new insights aboutthe Howard Franklin Bridge that teach me about Christ—my bridge home toheaven.
The Howard Franklin Bridge is a no taxi zone. No one will send a taxi for youthere. (We needed a taxi after the Florida Road Ranger gave us enough gas tomake it to the exit, but the car still wouldn’t start). We called the TampaTaxi who told us to call the St. Pete Taxi who told us to call Tampa Taxi andon and on. This gave me a long time to think and pray and ponder life while sweatingin the hot Florida afternoon sun watching the minutes and my hope of making myflight fade away. Finally, the wrecker service had mercy on us and took us back.I think he saw our desperation and broke the rules to help us.
The bridge home reminds me of the home I’ve never been to but long to see.There is a bridge to get there, and it is faith in Jesus Christ. There are notaxis or anyone else you can call on to help you across. Christ is your onlyhope.
You can have a lot of zeal in trying to get across that bridge in another waythan by Christ, but you will remain stuck on the other side without Him. Romans10:2, “For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, buttheir zeal is not based on knowledge.” Zeal doesn’t make knowledge.God could not have made it easier for us to get across the bridge; all it takesis faith in Christ. Romans 10:9-10, “That if you confess with your mouth,Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, youwill be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified,and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.”
As I have become more intimately acquainted than ever with the Howard FranklinBridge (my bridge home), I want to be intimately acquainted with Christ (my realbridge home). That bridge is stained with blood, sweat, and love. It is a once-uglyshameful tool of torture transformed into a beautiful bridge to heaven—theonly entrance to the place where all are welcome.