SPIRITUAL MATTERS: Blind faith? No! Informed faith? Yes!
IT WAS a friendly warning.
Not like my dad’s warnings when he was displeased with me. No. This was something different.
Instead of foreshadowing dire consequences, it held a note of encouragement:
“The track ahead is flooded. You’ll encounter a 300m stretch of water across the road. There’s a bush-track around the edge that’s muddy – but should get you through. A few kilometers further on, you’ll encounter another. There’s no sidetrack. But although it’s 500m long, the water is less than 20cm deep - and the road base is firm.”
With this advice ringing in our ears, the small convoy of 4WDs set off from Tilpa en-route to the opal-mining community of White Cliffs in the wake of a rain event that had brought welcome relief to the graziers in the far west of NSW.
This convoy was an offshoot of another that had been planned as a fundraising event for prostate cancer research – the original rally called off when South Australia closed its borders.
In the wake of that decision, a smaller group decided to stay with the original concept and tour a smaller area wholly within NSW. So we joined them.
This was an area familiar to me. I’d covered the territory 40 years ago in the air while carrying out duties as the Uniting Church’s flying padre. But on the ground, it was different – though just as exciting.
And there it was... the first water-barrier.
The sidetrack was as muddy and gooey as predicted, but with plenty of slipping and sliding and high-speed wheel-churning each of our 4WDs negotiated the obstacle successfully.
Now, with a sense of accomplishment bolstering our adrenaline-saturated mindset, we headed off for the next challenge.
Turning the last corner, we encountered a mini-sea! Water hemmed us in on three sides and the road ahead just disappeared.
Had I been on my own I’d have turned back – defeated! But we’d been re-assured that this obstacle was not insurmountable.
After a roadside conference, the lead vehicle entered the still waters, followed by another – snatch-strap at the ready.
With bated breath we watched their progress – until both emerged triumphantly at the far end.
Then it was our turn.
Confidently now, and with just the right amount of speed and engine revs, I engaged 4WD and we entered the calm waters, ploughing steadily through as our bow-wave curled away on each side, chuckling and gurgling with glee at being disturbed.
We eventually emerged at the other end with a renewed sense of accomplishment – then stood and watched the remaining vehicles as they emulated our success.
It seems to me that life is just like this. We encounter obstacles in our journey that appear insurmountable. But sometimes there’s an obvious sidetrack which offers realistic hope of a solution - even if that sidetrack in itself contains a significant challenge.
If no sidetrack is evident, we may be encouraged by others to push on through, trusting their knowledge and experience that the foundation beyond view is firm enough to support a successful outcome.
Jesus said: “I am the way…” and that’s good enough for me.
If Jesus says the way is negotiable, even if I harbour doubts, I’m prepared to trust him.
I may slip and slide a bit, and the road may feel a bit rocky beneath me, but I know I’ll make it because he’s been there before me. And that’s all I need to know!