Sunday afternoon Kelly, Christian, and I hiked one of our favorite trails at Drift Creek Falls. A suspension bridge near the end spans the creek far below. We love it for many reasons. The guys shared animated conversation on its construction and had fun swinging it to and fro. I savored the clean air and grandeur of the scenery, and of course, I had fun swinging too.

Bridges are important; they get us from point A to point B. The question is: should all bridges be crossed? On this New Year’s Eve, I’m thinking about where I’ve been this past year and where I want to be in 2014 – physically, emotionally, and spiritually. There are three things to do with bridges: burn them, repair them, or cross them. Wisdom teaches us there’s a time for all three.

Burning Bridges

Perhaps you’ve been warned not to burn bridges, but I believe sometimes it’s the right thing to do. When what is on the other side is dangerous to your  physical, emotional, and/or spiritual welfare; when you don’t ever want to return to that unhealthy place – it’s time to cut the connection. This includes bridges to addiction, abuse, self-destructive habits, bitterness, rage, lies, and sins that bring heartache and death.

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:18-19, NIV

We all have regrets about things we said or did this year. The good news is we don’t have to repeat those destructive patterns. With God’s help, we can burn those bridges and cross over into a new land full of promise.

Repairing Bridges

Secondly, some bridges need to be repaired. Are there broken relationships in your life? Is God leading you to ask for forgiveness, make restitution, reach across a chasm of misunderstanding, or earn back trust that’s been broken? Repairing bridges can be hard work, time consuming, and costly, but people are worth the trouble.

You may not use the bridge often. If the person is not making healthy choices, you may only want to visit occasionally, accompanied by safe, supportive companions to make sure you get back safely. But once you’ve repaired the bridge from your side, the other person can cross to you whenever they’re ready.

The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.

Isaiah 58:11-12

Crossing Bridges

Finally, there are bridges ahead in 2014 that God has in mind for us to cross. It may be a new job or relationship, establishing new habits and personal growth, or adventurous spiritual trails. The bridge might look a little formidable at first. You may not relish crossing a swinging bridge with rushing water far below, descending into a dark forest on the other side. What some perceive as adventure, you may see as threatening and uncomfortable. However, if God is blazing the trail, we have nothing to fear.

Thousands of Israelites followed Moses’ lead forty years through the desert to reach the Promised Land. When they got to the Jordan River, Moses found out he wouldn’t be entering with them. The people were afraid to venture on, but he reassured them:

The Lord your God himself will cross over ahead of you.” Deuteronomy 31:3

The same is true for us. God himself will cross ahead of us into this New Year. If we have lost trusted mentors, He will provide new ones to lead us on.

This New Year is full of promise. I pray God’s richest blessings on you as you step into 2014.

Happy New Year!