Fleeting Possessions Swallowed Out of View. Majestic Mountain View Series, Part 29

The collapsed Kinzua Bridge

"Don't hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or-worse!-stolen by burglars. Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it's safe from moth and rust and burglars. It's obvious, isn't it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being." (Matt 6:19-21, MSG)

This summer we are going to the pickpocket capital of the world: Barcelona. When I planned this trip, I had no idea that our destination was a place where robbery was the norm; but when I did learn this juicy piece of information, I initially thought about changing my plans. When I realized, however, that our Heavenly Father is way bigger than pickpocketers, I knew I had nothing to fear.

Sadly, 26% of the Spanish population have no jobs. No wonder they rely on thievery. Especially since the Spanish law supports this. As long as they don't hurt tourists, thefts of less than 400 Euros are punished with fines and not with jail time. In other words, there's no consequences for them, and some of them make fortunes. Naturally, their favorite targets are rich Americans...

A new law came into being in 2010, however. Pickpocketers can be arrested after their third offense. The new law also includes prison terms for thefts above 400 Euros, so thieves must ensure they steal less than 400 Euros, and if the police come after them, they are sure to disappear for a while.

In 2011, the new mayor of Barcelona ordered all policemen to patrol the streets for at least part of their time. About 3000 officers are now actively trying to curb pickpocketers. Since this initiative, thievery has dropped by 15%. It's a start, but it's a drop in a vast ocean.

In such circumstances, we realize that no matter how much or how little we have, it can quickly disappear. The same is true when a country is invaded by hostile forces. All money is taken over by the enemy. All your hard earned money is taken over! Nothing is a constant in this world, nothing except our Heavenly Father. What we own is an illusion, as it can disappear in the blink of an eye. We may have made the best plans, but in a moment, everything can be change.

A person facing death, either by persecution or illness, will not care about his belongings. He'd rather be healed than have all that money. Nothing can save him, except our loving Heavenly Father. Way better to put our treasure in heaven, don't you think?

In 1882, the Kinzua viaduct was built to be the highest and the longest railroad bridge in the world. An engineering marvel to admire, it stood 301 feet high and spanned 2053 feet. In 1900, the bridge was reinforced so that heavier trains could travel over it as well. Wrought iron was replaced with steel, and only the original iron anchor bolts were kept. In 1977, the bridge was acknowledged a National Engineering landmark.

In 2002, however, engineers noticed extensive rust. They had no choice but to close the bridge. The next year, an F1 tornado with wind speeds of above 71 miles an hour battered the bridge. The iron anchor bolts failed, and most of the bridge collapsed into the valley below.

Nothing lasts, nothing except the love of our Heavenly Father. In whom do we want to put our trust? Pickpocketers? Terrorists? Tornados? Or in the constant presence of our Heavenly Father?

"As for me and my family, we'll worship GOD." (Josh 24:15c, MSG)

P. S. Now-a-days the longest bridge is the Chinese Danyang-Kunshan Grand Bridge. It spans 102.4 miles (165 kilometers).

Rob Chaffart

Written on March 25, 2016

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