Nev Madsen

OPINION: An accidental lesson on trust

I THOUGHT I was in trouble! Mind you, I'd been expecting a problem - though hoping against hope I'd be proved wrong.

But here we were, slowing down and stopping on the M1 heading into Sydney late on the Monday of the long weekend - and still 90km short of our destination.

I was running NSW Trains' return express services to Central Station from Newcastle and had a near-full coach. To compound the situation, any delay would see me exceed my 12-hour driving limit for the day. Big problem!

On current indications, it seemed my worst fears were being realised. The implications were enormous. We were creeping forward now, very slowly. The queue of traffic stretched ahead ominously, tail and stop lights burning bright. But at least we were moving, though at an agonising pace.

Then a more rational thought temporarily displaced my fears with optimistic hope. Perhaps this is just a blip on the radar of the journey. Is it possible that this congestion is simply a local problem rather than indicative of the conditions we would be facing for the remainder of the trip?

In first gear and at idle revs, we continued crawling forward. A couple of minutes later I thought I could see a cluster of vague objects to the left-hand side of the motorway.

Sure enough, as we edged ever closer, it became clear that a major accident had occurred involving several vehicles and an expensive boat on a trailer.

Well, the boat should have been on the trailer. It wasn't! It was upside down across the nearside lane and there were people and battered cars scattered along the shoulder and left-hand lane.

Fortunately, the right-hand lane was clear and the traffic merged and crept past the blockage. No emergency services personnel or police were at the scene so it appeared the accident had only just happened.

As the chaotic scene receded into the distance behind us and we were able to accelerate to our normal cruising speed the congestion eased. But my relief was tinged with feelings of compassion for those involved in such an awful incident. Their evening - and weekend - had been ruined.

I have a lot of time to reflect on stuff on these long-haul trips, and soon I was contemplating my glass-half-empty assessment of the situation when we first encountered the slowing traffic. All my latent fears had surfaced with a rush as initial interpretations of unfolding events seemed to give credence to these expectations.

But in the end, from my perspective at least, these fears had proved unfounded. The remainder of the journey was trouble-free, and we arrived at Central a few minutes ahead of the timetable.

I remember seeing some statistics once that claimed 40% of an average person's anxieties and fears are focused on things that will never happen.

Over and over again Jesus urged his followers not to be fearful in situations of uncertainty, but to trust God. For as trust increases, God's faithfulness becomes clear.

And that makes a huge difference to the quality of our lives and relationships

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