Hello runners and walkers! I wanted to share a story with you this week about not giving up when people think what you are going after is so out of your reach or just not possible. I hope to do that with a story about a man who believed that God called him to do something amazing, even though people doubted that such a man could follow God’s call.
I recently visited the city of Avignon France, a town that became famous in 1300s because it was a papal residence. The town houses an impressive stone fortress that served as the Popes home and court. It has quaint cobble stone streets, plentiful green spaces and much charm. Buried in the town’s history is a story about a shepherd boy named Benezet. If measured by today’s standards, Benezet would be considered strange, possibly mentally ill. He wasn’t clean and probably did not have great people skills. But none of that matters. You see, Benzet loved God. He believed that God spoke to him and gave him a charge: build a bridge across the Rhone River that would connect one part of Avignon with the other. Benezet told the people of Avignon but they laughed at him – who would lift the stones necessary to build the foundation, they wondered. Many had tried. None were successful. Then at a gathering by the River, as the legend goes, Benezet the townsmen tried to lift or roll a stone to start a bridge. They failed. Along came Benezet, who lifted the foundation stone and tossed it into the river. He was just 21 and had the strength of four men. Some legends say that Benezet built the bridge himself. Other stories say that the town folks, after realizing this was indeed a miracle from God, helped him build the bridge.
Today, the bridge has partially fallen down, but city officials have reinforced it so that it is safe. Tourism officials said that an ice storm destroyed the integrity of the bridge and only one-third of it stands. When you walk on the bridge you can look at the Rhone River and the beautiful landscape of Avignon. But more importantly, as you visit one of the two small chapels on the bridge, you can remember the story of Benezet, a brave man who heard God’s call and acted on it. May we all be so brave!
This week may we focus on the call God has put in our hearts and take courage to act on it. May we build the bridges in our lives that honor Him! I have added a photo of the lovely bridge as a reminder that there is nothing that God cannot do for us and nothing we cannot do if he empowers us to do it. Blessings to you all!