FENTON, MI – Two of the largest freshwater lakes in the world separate the Upper and Lower Peninsulas of Michigan. We are the only state in the nation to have two peninsulas completely disconnected from each other. It is impossible to get from one peninsula to the other by land from anywhere in the state. Before the Mackinac Bridge was built, traffic could back up for 16 miles and people waited as long as 18 hours for a ferry to take them from one side to the other.
The Mackinac Bridge united Michigan and is an iconic image known around the world. At the time, the Mighty Mac was built, it was the longest suspension bridge in the world. Contractors brought together the largest collection of maritime construction equipment ever assembled in peacetime to build the bridge. It was a massive four-year construction project that makes it possible for approximately 11,000 vehicles a day to cross from one side to the other in minutes.
As you approach the Straits of Mackinac, the majestic towers of the Mighty Mac can be seen from every direction. They rise 552 feet above the water and descend 210 feet into the depths below. As massive as the bridge looks above the water, 75% of it lies under the waves. It has been described as a “man-made mountain.” One of the most fascinating features of the Mackinac Bridge is its flexibility. It moves with the wind and changes in temperature. A strong wind can move the bridge up to 35 feet to the east or west. The temperature can lift it up or down by 10 feet and the towers can move toward each other by up to 15 feet. It’s flexible, but strong enough to withstand the waves, ice, and wind of the harshest Michigan winter.
The Mackinac Bridge united the divided state of Michigan.
This unique Michigan reality is a powerful illustration of the Gospel. The separation between the Upper and Lower Peninsulas dramatically illustrates the Biblical truth that our sins have separated us from God It is as though God is on one peninsula and man is on the other. The two are separated from each other by our sin. The Apostle Paul captures the reality of what sin does to us and the hope of the Gospel in Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Wages, sin, and death paint a dramatically different picture than gift, God, and eternal life. The difference between living in one reality or the other is Jesus Christ and our relationship to Him. The free gift of God is His Son Jesus. Jesus dies on the cross, is buried, and rises again to reconcile us to God. He is the bridge that unites us with God. He makes eternal life possible when we turn from our sin and place our trust in Him as Savior and Lord.
The cross pales physically in size to the Mackinac Bridge, but there is no comparison to the scope of what Jesus does on the cross. There are limits to how far the Mackinac Bridge can move up and down, side to side, and inward, but there are no limits to what Jesus does through His death, burial, and resurrection. He descends from the heights of heaven to become Immanuel - God with us. His grace reaches beyond our greatest failures, and He leans in so close that He is an ever-present help in time of trouble. Receiving Him is, and forever will be, MI greatest moment!
For more information and to download free resources, visit bscm.org/mimoment.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mike Durbin is the State Evangelism Director for the Baptist State Convention of Michigan. Before joining the state convention staff, Mike served as Church Planting Catalyst and Director of Missions in Metro Detroit since 2007. He also has served as a pastor and bi-vocational pastor in Michigan, as well as International Missionary to Brazil.