This power pole is next to US Highway 80, along the route between our house and the church we attend. So, for quite awhile, on my trips to and from church, I’ve watched it bend a little more each year. (Yes, we electric utility engineers do notice the power lines as we drive along.)
It’s not leaning. You can see it’s straight at ground level. Leaning would mean the foundation is weak, but the foundation is strong (in this case it’s the dirt around about 6 feet of pole in the ground.) No, it’s just bending.
The pull of the attached cable that goes off to the right is causing the bend. Is the pole in danger of breaking? Probably not, unless it stays a long time, with enough bending and enough age (like our bodies, a pole’s strength lessens as it gets older.)
The more the pole bends, the more gravity comes into the equation. When it’s straight up and down, the entire pole carries the weight. But, as it bends, the weight of the top of the pole and, in this case, the weight of the transformer, create offset forces that increase the bending even more. That concentrates more force at particular locations along the pole (think of breaking a stick with your hands – it bends, then breaks at a particular point.)
If it’s not likely to break, what’s the problem? A power pole has one purpose – to hold things up. This next picture shows the span of cable that goes off the pole.
You can consider the two photos and see that, as the pole bends more, the cable will sag closer to the ground. If it’s significant enough, the clearance to the ground can become unsafe. The pole’s purpose – to hold things up – can be compromised by weights and pulls and burdens. Even while just doing it’s job.
As I’ve passed the pole these many years, my thoughts often go to Hebrews 12:1-3: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Our purpose is to glorify and worship God. Laying aside sin is obviously needed for us to fulfill that purpose (run the race). But, the Scripture verses and the pole in the picture remind us there are also weights and pulls and burdens, even “good” ones, that can hinder our race and compromise our purpose – slow us down, or get us off track, or cause us to sag under the burden. Those can be subtle and require continual self assessment to keep under control. And, as the verse also says, keeping our eyes on Jesus, and remembering what He has done, will help to reinforce the purpose in our life, and allow us to lay aside the sin and weights that hinder us.
What are some of these weights, and pulls and burdens that you’ve come across in your life?