(This week’s devotions are based on Sunday’s message: Win the Day…Fly the Kite – LISTEN HERE)
The challenge was clear.
How do we get a bridge across the Niagara River near Niagara Falls? The span at the narrowest point was 800 feet. The rapids above and below the falls was treacherous. The cable needed to be substantial to support the weight of foot traffic and later buggy and railroad traffic.
The year was 1847 and the challenge was awarded to an engineer by the name of Charles Ellet, Jr. While the vision was clear to have a safer and more accessible way to cross the river from the United States to Canada and vice versa, the feasibility of getting a strong cable across was formidable. The place where the bridge was to be located has significant rapids and crossing by boat was impossible. So the idea was presented to have a kite flying contest and a prize of $10 to whomever could fly a kite across the rapids to the other side.
While accounts vary on the details, the winner is affirmed as Homan Walsh. 16 at the time, he is said to have crossed the river on the ferry and walked 2 miles down river to the place where the bridge was to be built. His first attempt failed as his string broke and the kite blew across to the U.S. side. He had to wait a few days to get back to the U.S. side as the winter cold prevented the ferry to cross. Finally he got back to his home side and found his kite, repaired it, and went back across to try again. On January 30, 1848, he was successful and his effort earned him the $10 prize.
However, the kite string was not strong enough, but by tying a little heavier strength rope to the kite string, the larger rope was pulled across with the kite string. After multiple times of fully rope, each successively bigger and stronger, eventually the 36 strand of 9 gauge wire cable was pulled as the beginning tether for the foot and buggy suspension bridge.
It all started with the flying of a kite.
This interesting piece of history reminds us that big things are accomplished with small beginnings. One might look at the bridge and marvel at the wonderful accomplishment this was to span the raging river. However, the bridge and its impact would never have materialized if the string of a kite was not first successfully flown across the river.
The Lord loves to work in the small things to create bigger impact. However, if we are always looking and expecting the big impact, we may miss the importance of starting small with the little things.
The prophet Zechariah didn’t celebrate a kite flying across the Niagara River, but he was encouraged to celebrate the string that held a plumb bomb, a measuring device used to ensure a walls of a building were straight.
Zechariah was a prophet to God’s people as the captivity in Babylon was coming to an end. Individuals were returning to Jerusalem to find the temple destroyed and the prospect of rebuilding it looming large.
People were distracted at getting their own homes built and God uses the prophet Zechariah to get the people focused on a priority – rebuilding the temple. He affirms the reality that the temple would be rebuilt, but it would take small steps along the way.
Small steps that were not to be spurned, but to be celebrated because through the small steps, the large structure of the temple would again rise to honor the Lord and serve his people.
Zechariah wrote this:
Zechariah 4:10 “Who dares despise the day of small things, since the seven eyes of the Lord that range throughout the earth will rejoice when they see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel?”
The Lord is doing and going to do great things in your life – as he determines best. However those large realities come as we faithfully fly the kite, take the small things and celebrate when we see God at work.
Apply: What “little thing” is on your agenda today that you internally despise having to do? What might be God’s possible “big thing” he might work in your life as you faithfully engage in the little things?
Prayer: Lord, forgive me for despising the day of small things. Help me to see you at work in the little things as the steps you use to carry out your bigger plan. AMEN.
If interested in a video recap of the kite that connected two countries, click here: