There once was this turntable bridge which spanned a large
river. During most of the day, the bridge sat parallel with the
tracks, allowing ships to pass freely on both sides. But at
certain times each day a train would come along, and the bridge
would be turned sideways across the river allowing the trains to
cross. A switchman sat in a small shack on one side of the
river where he operated the controls to turn the bridge and lock
it into place as the train crossed.
One evening as the switchman was waiting for the last train of the day to come, he looked off into the distance through the dimming twilight and caught sight of the train's light. He stepped to the controls and waited until the train was within a prescribed distance when he was to turn the bridge position. He turned the bridge, but to his horror, found that the locking control didn't work. If the bridge was not locked into position securely, it would wobble back and forth at the ends when the train came onto it. This would cause the train to jump the track and go crashing into the river.
This train was a passenger train with many people aboard. He left the bridge turned across the river, and hurried across the bridge to the other side of the river where there was a lever he could use to operate the lock manually. He could hear the rumble of the train now. He took hold of the lever and leaned backward to apply pressure to keep the mechanism locked. Many lives depended on this man's strength.
Then, coming across the bridge from the direction of his control shack he heard a sound that made his blood run cold: "Daddy, where are you?" His four year old son was crossing the bridge to look for him. His first impulse was to cry out to the child, "Run, run!" but the train was too close, the tiny legs would never make it across the bridge in time. The man almost lifted the lever to run and snatch up his son and carry him to safety, but he realized he could not get back to the lever in time. Either the people on the train or his little son must die.
He took just a moment to make his decision. The train sped swiftly and safely on it's way and no one aboard was aware of the tiny, broken body thrown mercilessly into the river by the rushing train. Nor were they aware of the pitiful figure of a sobbing man still clinging tightly to the lever long after the train had passed. They didn't see him walking home more slowly than he had ever walked, to tell his wife how he had sacrificed her son.
"Now if you can comprehend the feelings which went through this man's heart, you can understand the feeling of our Heavenly Father when He sacrificed His Son to bridge the gap between us and eternal life. How does He feel when we speed along through life without giving a thought to what was done for us through his Son, Jesus Christ? Can there be any wonder that He caused the earth to tremble and the skies to darken when His only Son died?"