Monday, March 21, 2011


My Japanese car clocked up more than two thousand kilometres on my solo trip back to Queensland after I had spent four and half years living in Tasmania. The overnight ferry trip on the ‘Spirit of Tasmania I’ was spent mostly in my cabin reading and digesting the Bible with a goodly portion of Calvin’s Institutes for dessert. Lashing rain bleeding from a night sky punched black and blue after condescending to pick a fight with the sea (still visibly erupting in fits of anger) prevented all hope of me leisurely rail-leaning and star-gazing.

Melbourne in rush hour is not a good place to be lost in. For its long tunnels and toll roads have been known to cause static build-up in the progressive sanctification in some of its Christian sojourners! The inland road to Brisbane was opted for in order to avoid time-wasting frustration and entanglement in the hurly burly of a trip through frenetic Sydney. The flatness of country Victoria and New South Wales reminded the Canadian in me of the Manitoba prairie. The circle of horizon was a bleeding and blistering red, not from a sun bruised by a long day, but from surrounding walls of dust kept at bay by high winds. Moses crossing the Red Sea on dry land sprang to mind!

After ten hours on the road I was sneaking up on the Western New South Wales town of Dubbo with only one hundred kilometres to go. The uninvited and unwelcome twilight sought to put fear into my heart. Nothing else for it, but to tuck my car into the slipstream of a road-train-truck, sit tight, and hope for the best! I prayed that the juggernaut would protect me from crashing into the suicidal kangaroos that line the side of the road at dusk. Sure enough a big red emerged out of the descended darkness and into my headlights from beneath the rear axle of the truck I was tailing. I managed to guide the dead roo between my front wheels. I heard him as he thumped his annoyance under my chassis. Sorry Lord for running down one of Your creatures, but I am sure he was dead before it was my turn to run over him!

My arrival in Dubbo was met with a ferocious downpour of the kind that defeats even the swiftest of windshield wipers. With water-distorted vision I saw what looked like a kilted drum-major on a well-lit sign. With mace in hand he beckoned me into the Aberdeen Motel in Dubbo to dry off and rest for the night. Early morning saw me back on the road to Brisbane. The air was clear and the sun was just rising with healing in its wings. A recording of the Scottish band ‘Run Rig’ proved to be uplifting driving music. The lyrics, ‘I’m alive again on a May morning’ were appropriate and helped lift my soul to thank God for the new day He had given me.

Like solar flares erupting from the sun I felt pangs of anger begin to bubble-up from somewhere hidden deep within upon seeing cattle dangerously on the road ahead as I rounded a bend on the highway. The seven years of drought etched into the face of the drover who managed the emaciated cattle as they ate the grass at the side of the road extinguished all flames within me. True, the only green grass I had seen since Melbourne was along the sides of the highway. As I drove very slowly through the herd of cattle I gave a wave of approval to the cattle hand. He motioned a slow hand of acknowledgement back in my direction. Tears welled up in my eyes as I looked at the sad scene in my rear-view mirror. I prayed for rain, and hoped that my little wave of approval had brought no little encouragement to the cattleman. May your next seven years be fat not lean!

Majestic and as beautiful as they were, the cool green mountains either side of Queensland’s scenic Cunningham's Gap, still brought out the Scotsman in me! ‘Because these green hills are not highland hills or the island hills…’ But by the grace of God Queensland is my adopted place of habitation and I am coming home! Onward, little car, my wife and children await my return. God speed!

‘Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand, measured heaven with a span and calculated the dust of the earth in a measure? Weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance?’ Isaiah 40:12. “Look to Me, and be saved, all you ends of the earth! For I am God and there is no other.’ Isaiah 45:22.

O that all the nations would bow down before Him! For the leaves of His Son’s tree, even His cross, are for the healing of the nations!

Excerpted from Disembark the Ark & Other Contemplations -

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