Are We Trying To Go ‘A Bridge Too Far?’


In September 1944, flush with success after the Normandy Invasion, the Allies, (American, British, and Polish), confidently launched ‘Operation Market Garden.” It was a risky scheme intended to put an early end to World War II by invading Germany and destroying their war plants. The result was a disaster of epic proportion and one of the biggest victories of the war for the Germans. The Allies plans was unsuccessful for a number of reason’s but, in hind sight, it principally failed because their intended scope of reach was too ambitious. Hence, the saying came about that they went one “bridge too far.” Perhaps if the Generals had scaled down the magnitude of their objectives, they might have accomplished less but they would still have accomplished “something.’ Instead they met with resounding defeat.

There is certainly nothing wrong with being “ambitious” and setting lofty goals. But, if set unrealistically, they can be a detriment in our lives. I have spent time in private conversation with many members of the church who have set their spiritual goals so high, such that no human could reasonably attain them. So they become despondent, discouraged, and disheartened when they fail to met their objectives. When I left my mission at the age of twenty-one I was asked by my mission president to set, then write down goals I had for my life. Among many was the goal to see the face of Christ by the age of thirty. Being twenty-one I thought that nine years was plenty of time to “hone” my life such that I would be worthy to be see His face. After all, I had come so far in just two years. Alas, the time arrived when I turned thirty and I was far from my goal. It was a worthy goal, but not one that was practical nor necessary for me to accomplish. In retrospect, I am not sure that in striving for such a goal, one might not lose themselves in every “jot and tittle” of the law, thus rendering the “spirit” subservient to it. Perish the thought!

Have we set “a bridge too far” in our lives? Do we feel we are ever exerting but never accomplishing?

Jacob de Jager once gave this counsel:

“Examine carefully your personal goals. If these goals are unrealistic, then discouragement is inevitable”.

Discouragement certainly is inevitable if we want to cross a “bridge too far.” We need to be willing and insightful enough to adjust our goals when needed. Sometimes it has to do with simply letting go of our prideful ambitions. When it comes to our spiritual lives, let us not be too hard on ourselves. We have a Savior! Let us look to Him to bridge the gulf between us and our Father.

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