Pero’s Bridge is one of the world’s stranger looking bridges. Built in 1999, it is a pedestrian drawbridge that spans St. Augustine’s beach in Bristol, England.
The two outside sections are attached to land and the inner section serves as a drawbridge that raises to allow boats to pass beneath.
It has two distinctive, horn-like objects on either side of the bridge. At first glance, it seems they are nothing more than abstract art added to decorate the bridge.
In fact, it is art, but they also serve as important counterweights that exert force in the opposite direction allowing the inner span to raise quickly.
Also called a “bascule” bridge — French for “balanced scale” — people have used this type of design for centuries because counterweights raise bridge spans quickly and with relatively little energy.
Like a bascule bridge, we all need something to counter what life throws at us.
As you watch the media, a person can quickly be caught up worrying about world events and our rapidly changing society. We worry about our jobs and health and our children’s future.
It eventually saps our strength and we slide into a chronic state of unbelief, hopelessness and even fear.
These worries are very real, but God has provided a counterweight that swings our spirit back into balance.
In his famous passage on anxiety, the Apostle Paul writes:
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7 NASV)
When we are overcome with worry, Paul calls us to pray. But notice how he adds one vital component — we need to pray with “thanksgiving.” He includes it, because thanksgiving is God’s counterweight to worry.
So what is the apostle referring to?
I think Paul is saying we need to thank God for answered prayer. When we pray for our children we need to thank God, that the Holy Spirit is working in their lives.
Now there may not be any visible signs that God is doing anything. But we need to believe that God is moving behind the scenes — because He is — and we need to thank God for this.
This is the “evidence of things not seen” the writer of Hebrews refers to when describing faith:
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1 NASV)
Then as we pray with thanksgiving, the counterbalance kicks in, and the peace of God that passes all understanding rises up to guard our heart.