The two images, set side by side above, were taken within moments of one another. While taking the Royal Gorge Route Railway Tour a few years ago, I was struck by the deep gash into solid rock, punctuated by a river at the bottom of the gorge. As we stood on the flatbed railcar to take photos of our trip, I was able to gain some perspective of the moment, and of my life. And while looking up at the people standing on the bridge high above us, some spiritual clarity descended into my mind.
Here’s a great description from the website for this tour:
“West of Canon City the Arkansas River cuts through a high plateau of igneous rocks forming a spectacular steep-walled gorge over a thousand feet deep. At its narrowest point shear walls on both sides plunge into the river creating an impassible barrier.”
It is those two words “impassible barrier” that grab my heart.
Every day during this wonderful month of December, right up to the day we designate to celebrate the birth of Jesus, I’m reminded of why He came. My SIN once separated me from God, like the bare 1,000 foot sheer rock divide of this gorge. I had no way of crossing over to God, nothing I could do or say would change my condition or position. But God. Don’t you love those words? Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
The impassible barrier between God and me was overcome by Jesus coming to earth as a human baby, wrapped in cloths, and laid in an animal feeding trough. I looked up and out of this gorge into the blue sky, and saw the bridge. In my mind I saw the cross where Jesus died for me, spanning the great divide my sin had caused.
The birth of Jesus in inextricably connected to the cross of Jesus. We can’t have one without the other. For in this wonderful image we are saved by the Grace of God.
The gorge no longer has any power to hold me separate from God. It has been conquered by the only One who could.
His name is Jesus, and He came to save us.