Back in the days of the Great Depression a Missouri man named John Griffith was the controller of a great railroad drawbridge across the Mississippi River. One day in the summer of 1937 he decided to take his eight-year old son, Greg, with him to work. At noon, John Griffith put the bridge up to allow ships to pass and sat on the observation deck with his son to eat lunch.
Time passed quickly. Suddenly he was startled by the shrieking of a train whistle in the distance. He quickly looked at his watch and noticed it was 1:07pm, the Memphis Express, with four hundred passengers on board roaring toward the raised bridge. He leaped from the observation deck and ran back to the control tower.
Just before throwing the master lever he glanced down for any ships below. There a sight caught his eye that caused his heart to leap pounding into his throat. Greg had slipped from the observation deck and had fallen into the massive gears that operate the bridge. His left leg was caught in the cogs of the two main gears. Desperately, John’s mind whirled to devise a rescue plan. But as soon as he thought of a possibility, he knew there was no way it could be done.
Again, with alarming closeness, the train whistle shrieked in the air. He could hear the clicking of the locomotive wheels over the tracks. That was his son down there—yet there were four hundred passengers on the train. John knew what he had to do, so he buried his head in his left arm and pushed the master switch forward. That great massive bridge lowered into place just as the Memphis Express began to roar across the river.
When John Griffith lifted his head with his face smeared with tears, he looked into the passing windows of the train. There were businessmen casually reading their afternoon papers, finely dressed ladies in the dining car sipping coffee, and children pushing long spoons into their dishes of ice cream. No one looked at the control house, and no one looked at the great gear box. With wrenching agony, John Griffith cried out at the steel train, “I sacrificed my son for you people! Don’t you care?” The train rushed by, but nobody heard the father’s words which recalls Lamentations 1:12, “Is it nothing to you, all who pass by?” (Condensed and adapted from “Is It Nothing to You?” by Dr. D. James Kennedy; March 19, 1978; Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.)
To be in John Griffith’s place would be a most painful experience: to give your son so that strangers could live and then for them to not even know. How it must trouble the God of heaven and earth when people don’t acknowledge that He gave His only begotten Son to die so they could live. Take a walk in His shoes. Think! How would you respond to it? What is even more troubling is when people know that God sacrificed His Son on Calvary, but they don’t care. Be thankful with heartfelt gratitude and let Him know today.
Pastor J.C. Myers, III
Pastor J.C. founded Joy Christian Ministries in 1992. He was Sr. Pastor at Joy Christian Ministries in West Sacramento, California from 1992-2016. He was succeeded by his 2nd son, Pastor Brandon Myers who had been under his father's ministry and teaching for 39 years.