Those few fleeting seconds of disbelief as the normal driving conditions abruptly changed must have been horrifying. “What’s going on here? Why is my car behaving this way?” Instantly the traffic ahead is veering out of control and as far as you can see the concrete in front of you is breaking up and disappearing. Is this for real?

Every day 140000 vehicles drove over the Interstate35WBridge between Minneapolis and St. Paul’s. And this day was no different. Construction crews were on the bridge doing their routine re-decking on two of the eight lanes, paving and keeping the surface smooth for travel. Buses, trucks, cars, vans and motorcycles were passing over – some on business and others for leisure. Some going home and others leaving on vacation. It was the supper rush hour.

And then, in all of four seconds the bridge collapsed. Vehicles plunged into the Mississippi along with tons of crumbling concrete. A tragedy that will long be remembered. Loved ones perished in the collapse and many were injured. Others will live with flashbacks of the close call they themselves had.

Not only should we pray for those who have been sadly affected, we ourselves do well to reflect on the spiritual lessons that can be learned from such a tragedy.

On the surface, construction crews were diligently working to repave a section of the bridge. Did they know that while they were working on making the bridge smoother on top that it was structurally unsound below? In 2005 the structural integrity of the bridge was given a 4 on a scale of 0-9. A report in 2001 said the bridge was suffering from structural fatigue (weakness).

Jesus once told a story of a man who carefully built and probably meticulously maintained his beautiful house but it was built upon the sand. (Matthew 7: 24-29)This man He called foolish while the other person who built his home upon a solid rock foundation was called wise.

Jesus then spoke of the storms that inevitably cross all our paths. The beautiful home on the sand was swept away in the storm. The house upon the rock survived. It was structurally sound.

People live their lives concerned about the aesthetics of life.  But what is your ‘house of life’ built upon? Each day you live, you are adding to your house. A good career could be considered the front door. A job promotion could be a new window and a hefty raise – the new shutters. Committing to the 12 Step AA program for your addiction is like painting your house. Renewing your life insurance policy is like reshingling your roof.

But what about your foundation? Let’s face it, how significant are all your achievements and accomplishments if you are building your life on the sand?
 Things above ground and on the surface of your life may be well maintained. But how is the spiritual structure of your life? Have you been warned in the past that your life is structurally unsound and that you are not ready for the big storm? Have you been given a 4 rating on a scale of 0 to 9?
The bridge was structurally unsafe below but on the surface, the construction crew was busy re-paving two of the eight lanes.  Seconds after the tragedy happened, did it really matter that the lanes were re-paved?

When the greatest of all storms, death itself crosses your path, will it matter then if you have wealth, fame, education and medals of Honor? The storm of death will sweep all of these things away because you have built your life on sand.

Wouldn’t you like to be known as a wise builder for life and for eternity? The wise person makes sure he’s building on a solid foundation that will withstand the storms of life. The Lord Jesus Christ is the rock foundation. If you are building your life upon Christ, the storms of life will not sweep you away into eternal darkness. Only upon Christ can you be secure. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken.”  (Psalm 62:6)

Forget the redecorating, the reshingling, the redecking, and the refurbishing efforts. Worry about those ‘projects’ after you have taken care of the very foundation of your life. Make sure the footings of your life are resting on the Rock Christ Jesus.  “… and the Rock was Christ.” (1Corinthians 10:4)

The foundation that will survive the storm is not a religious building or a set of religious rituals or a collection of your good works. The only house that will stand is the one resting on Christ Jesus – the Saviour and Lord.
Be absolutely certain you are now structurally secure. Our sins have structurally damaged every one of us. By nature, all are insecure because of sin. If a person dies having never found the Rock as security, they will perish in their sins in Hell.

The sudden storm could happen at any moment. Life’s biggest interruptions usually happen without advance warnings. With all our sophistication, technology and engineering brilliance we expect our planes to stay in the air. We expect our skyscrapers to remain standing and our drinking water to be safe. We expect our bridges to get us across safely and our boats to remain afloat. When they don’t we are reminded of our own vulnerability and the uncertainty of life.

Are you wise? Are you structurally secure? Is everything okay? You aren’t ready to live until you are ready to die. Are you prepared?

Note: The picture of the paving crew above is a stock photo – not an actual picture of the I-35W Bridge