The Journey 152
Read: 2 Kings 5: 1-27
The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. An architectural wonder, an iconic structure, an engineering masterpiece is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year and its year long celebrations were inaugurated this May. It was in May 1937 that the bridge was inaugurated and opened to vehicular traffic. But before the bridge was completed, this was considered as in impossible task , due to persistently foggy weather, 60-mile-per-hour winds, and strong ocean currents, which whipped through a deep canyon below. But the man who gave wings to his dreams and vision of building a bridge in such hostile environment is Joseph Baerman Strauss. For many years Strauss, who was a distinguished engineer, dreamed of raising a span across the Golden Gate. It was in response to his vision, to countless people who used to challenge that that such a bridge could not be built. But, amazingly enough, Strauss held fast to his vision, and a span was eventually raised across the Golden Gate Bridge. The bridge was finally constructed in a little more than four years costing about $35 million. The total length of the bridge spans 1.2 miles . Even today, the massive spans of the bridge which are often shrouded in fog, sways 27 feet to withstand winds of up to 100 miles per hour. The two great cables extending from the bridge contain 80,000 miles of steel wire, which is enough to circle the equator three times while the concrete poured to cement the bridge into the stormy waters below could have also been used to pave a five-foot sidewalk from New York to San Francisco. Incredible. I still remember driving through the golden gate bridge in 2006 along with James Veeramala Achen, totally wonderstruck and in awe beholding such an iconic beauty. As the nation celebrates the 75th anniversary of this architectural wonder, there is also a small but bitter aspect behind this bridge, which is very shocking and also tragic.. This sad but bitter aspect is that more people chose to end their life by jumping off the bridge to the water below. What an irony. On one side one can marvel at this wonderful structure of human innovation and ingenuity, the gift that God gives to each one of us to explore human life to its widest possibilities and challenges thus making life worth living and on the other side people who do not want to explore God’s gift of wide possibilities in human life, not ready to take up challenges and thus making both living and life a total tragedy. When the topic of sick and suffering is discussed, I think we can see both of these perspectives in the life of people.
This week we are meditating on the theme “ Transformation in life of the sick and suffering”. The biblical portion that we are meditating is from 2 Kings 5: 1-27. Here is a portion where you find Naman who is suffering from leprosy standing in the doorway of the house of Elisha. This is when Elisha commands to Naman through his messenger, that he should go and wash in the river Jordan seven times. This peculiar demand makes Naman very angry. The reason for his anger is that there were rivers in Damascus like Abnah and Pharpar where he could go and wash and he did not see any reason as why he had to go to river Jordan. Here is Naman who wants healing but at the same time trying to limit the wide world of God’s working and at the same time also trying to think that he can determine how God has to work. I think is this attitude that makes him angry. I believe there are lot of people like Naman who cannot see the wide and varied way of God’s working in human life and try to manipulate God in ones own way. This is utterly foolish. What is required from each one of us to submit to the awesome power of God so that He works wonders in our life in His own unique ways, even when we go through sickness and suffering. This will make us iconic objects of living witness of the living God, just like the golden bridge is a witness to the ingenuity and innovation of Joseph Baerman Strauss.