Have you heard the song, “Bridge over Troubled Water” by Simon and Garfunkel?
If you listened to the radio in 1971, (no iPod available then), you would remember it. For 6 weeks it was the #1 hit on the radio. It was also a hit at the Grammy’s, winning Song of the Year, Record of the Year and 4 other awards. Through the years, it has been sung by hundreds of artists in multiple languages.1
How did this song come about? It was written by Paul Simon, who considered himself a cultural Jew. Yet, one of his inspirations was from a 1958 recording of “Mary Don’t You Weep,” by southern gospel group the Swan Silvertones. In the song “singer Claude Jeter felt called to add a crucial line: “I’ll be a bridge over deep water if you trust in my name.”
Jeter’s words inspired Simon to write “Bridge Over Troubled Water.”2
Perhaps God inspired Paul too.
Interestingly enough, Paul recognizes that writing this song was different than any others he had written. In an interview he says, “I have no idea where it came from. It just came. All of a sudden… One minute it wasn’t there and the next: the whole line was there…It was one of the shocking moments in my song-writing career… I remember thinking this is considerably better than I usually write.’’2
For copyright reasons I can’t post the actual lyrics, but Paul likens our tough times to troubled waters. Sounds apropos, doesn’t it? He then writes that someone, (he doesn’t use a name), provides a bridge over those troubled waters by laying down. Hmmm. Jesus laid down His life for us bridging the gap between man’s sins and God so that we could escape eternal troubles. He can also be a bridge over troubles in our daily lives. Jesus seems to fit the lyrics, doesn’t He?
Could God have been using this pop song to remind us that the bridge available to us is Jesus?
Then He said to him, “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man [the bridge between heaven and earth].”
John 1:51 (Amplified)
When troubles come, don’t we all want a bridge to take us over the troubled waters?
We often expect Jesus to keep us trouble free. That He will always be a bridge that causes us to escape all of our troubles. Ahhh, but we were never promised a trouble-free life. We were however, promised that through Jesus we may have peace and victory.
These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
Those troubled waters will come. When they do, we may escape by crossing over on a bridge. Other times, we may only wade in the troubled waters. Then there are the times when we get completely soaked and need to swim through them-even dodging sharks!
Watch out for the sharks!
We don’t always have a choice on whether to swim or not.
But there is good news about taking a swim. Water is used to clean us, isn’t it?
I mean, we all take a bath, don’t we?
So, swimming through troubled waters can help to wash off all the dirt that has stuck to us. Dirt like our wrong perceptions, unforgiveness, fears, pride and unkindness. Swimming could help us to see people or situations in a different way. As we struggle along on our swim, we may recognize our fears and grow our faith. Even though swimming may be difficult, it can have a purpose and it will be used for our good, (Romans 8:28).
Does our amount of faith determine whether we escape, wade or swim?
Not necessarily. If it only takes a little faith to move a tree, we certainly need only a little faith to face our troubles.
So, the Lord said, “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree,
‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you. Luke 17:6
The same amount of faith that enables some to escape trouble, may help others to endure it.3
Faith is not always a bridge over that troubled water, but a way to get through it.
If you find yourself facing trouble, focus on Jesus. Ask Him what path to take.
Whichever path you find yourself on, our loving God will be with you. When you call upon Him, He will help you through the troubled waters.
God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1
Remember, whether we escape, wade or swim, it all takes the same amount of faith.
Are you facing troubled waters? What does the scripture say about the amount of faith you need?
Heavenly Father, as I write Luke 17:6 and say it out loud, help me to remember that through You, I have enough faith to face whatever troubles come my way.
IT ONLY TAKES A LITTLE FAITH TO FACE TROUBLED WATERS
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3 Commentary Hebrews 11:1, New Spirit Filled Life Bible
Photo bridge by Kelvin Zhang, unsplash
Photo shark by David Clode, unsplash
Photo baby by skdickerson, pixabay