There is an old railway bridge outside of Shelton, Washington called the Vance Creek Viaduct. It is the highest railway bridge structure in North America. Built in 1929, it served as part of the rail system for the Simpson Timber Company. The bridge is about 450 feet in height and approximately 800 feet in length. It crosses over the Skokomish Valley and the bridge is no longer serviceable. Most residents of Shelton, Washington have, at some point, made their way to this unique bridge to walk across the tracks. What is most significant about this particular bridge is there are no rails running along the side. A person can walk up to the edge and peer down to the valley floor. That is, if you are not afraid of heights. For area residents, traversing across the Vance Creek Viaduct takes courage and fortitude of confidence. There is the challenge of vertigo, the fear of heights, and the reality of ensuring that one does not venture out too close to the edge. Some who have attempted to cross only turn back out of fear, call for others to return. They wish to find another means around the bridge.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is like the Vance Creek Viaduct. It is the bridge between our mortal existence
to the immortal and eternal life that is promised to each and every one of us. The only safety measure that is implemented is following Christ and walking in obedience to the things that he has taught and commanded us. Today, many people may have attempted to cross the bridge, only to turn away in fear. They, out of a concern for their family and friends, attempt to warn them to not cross the bridge. They fear the loss of their family member, potential death. Others venture across with a false sense of security. They walk along the edge, tempting their own fate, flirting with their own demise as they show off a false sense of courage and confidence. For the few, we venture across, remaining steadfast in the center of the bridge, knowing and being aware of the dangers around us, understanding that living the Gospel of Jesus Christ is no easy task. These few do not have a false sense of security and confidence, for they walk along the center of the bridge, knowing where they are heading. They see the hope that is before them. These individuals have an understanding of what lies ahead for eternal life.
The mission and purpose for our own human existence is summed up in what we read about in modern Scripture: For behold, this is my work and my glory – to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man (Moses 1:39). This is what our Heavenly Father revealed to Moses. It is HIS WORK and HIS GLORY that we obtain immortality and eternal life. How this is accomplished is through the mission, ministry, and purpose of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
Christ himself recognized the will and desire of the Father when he relates the following:
For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that everyone which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day (John 6:38-40).
The clarity of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the true Gospel that Latter-day Saint Christians accept, is summed up in this scripture:
13 Behold I have given unto you my gospel, and this is the gospel which I have given unto you—that I came into the world to do the will of my Father, because my Father sent me.14 And my Father sent me that I might be lifted up upon the cross; and after that I had been lifted up upon the cross, that I might draw all men unto me, that as I have been lifted up by men even so should men be lifted up by the Father, to stand before me, to be judged of their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil— 15 And for this cause have I been lifted up; therefore, according to the power of the Father I will draw all men unto me, that they may be judged according to their works. 16 And it shall come to pass, that whoso repenteth and is baptized in my name shall be filled; and if he endureth to the end, behold, him will I hold guiltless before my Father at that day when I shall stand to judge the world. 17 And he that endureth not unto the end, the same is he that is also hewn down and cast into the fire, from whence they can no more return, because of the justice of the Father (3 Nephi 27:13 – 17).
The promised blessing of immortality and eternal life is summed up in Revelation 3:21: To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
Once we realize that we have an opportunity to receive immortality and eternal life, we have placed our feet on a sure foundation. We may experience winds of temptations; however, the more we endure and press forward to cross over that bridge, the greater our blessing will be. It is only when we make it fully across where we will hear the words: Well done good and faithful servant (See Matthew 25:23).
No matter where one is on their mortal journey, coming to faith, repenting of our sins, receive baptism by immersion for the remission of sins, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost is the only sure foundational steps we can make to secure our future calling and election of immortality and eternal life. Once we receive these sacred ordinances, and take upon ourselves the name of Christ, we are fully equipped to move forward and cross that bridge with the confidence that we will constantly be guided in the right direction – if only we harken and learn to walk by faith and not by our own frail eye sight.
- Prayer: Make my will be Yours, Father. (monicamiller.wordpress.com)
- Choose Liberty or Captivity (mormonapologeticstudies.org)