Community News

Spiritual Matters: A Bobcat sparks some reflections

The Bobcat’s engine is a constant rumble in the background. I’ve been sitting here in my study contemplating what to write – and the noise of the bobcat intrudes.

This amazing little machine is working fussily to and fro, digging, leveling, and carrying as it applies itself tirelessly to the task of preparing the site for a large concrete pour in our front yard. That cheerful little machine is spinning and weaving and bouncing around excitedly as it goes about its vital business as if there’s nothing more important in the world than the task it’s presently engaged in. Its engine is running hard – seldom pausing to take a breather. Busy; busy; busy.

Now thoughts turn to my flying days – and to one of the first lessons I learnt as a student pilot. “Full throttle for take-off please: Full throttle. Only at the top of the climb, as you lower the nose, can you pull back the power. That’s when you set the aircraft up for straight and level cruising at a constant speed at about 70% of maximum revs”. And that was it. Between the climb-out and the beginning of the descent to land, that aircraft engine would continue to spin happily and consistently at its chosen and optimum power setting.

My mind flips back even further – to those heady days when my drivers licence was brand-new. I’m planning my first long drive in my Austin A40 Devon – 225 miles from London to my parent’s home in Cornwall. My uncle, who’d taught me to drive in a car with a ‘crash’ gearbox – was full of advice. Protective and concerned, I still hear his words clearly: “Keep varying your speed on the trip” he said. “That will ensure the oil flows efficiently around the engine and keep everything well lubricated”.

I accepted and followed his advice for I believed my uncle was an authority on everything to do with cars and driving.

And as if to prove the point, that first long-distance trip (at night) went smoothly.

But subsequent experience has taught me that this particular instruction was wrong – that an engine will happily revolve at a set, constant speed for hours on end with no detrimental effects.

As this train of thought crystallized in my mind, another emerged – more closely related to the way our lives progress.

We all experience the ups and downs of life. We can have a dream run when everything seems to turn out right, relationships prove need-satisfying and the sun shines on our work and finances. But dreams can be interrupted by nightmares – where nothing seems to go right and we’re stretched to the limit of our finite resources.

In our present COVID-afflicted lives, one of the topics commanding commentary is the exponential growth of mental health problems. Many don’t cope well with fluctuations in their personal circumstances, and some appear to lose the plot quite easily. That’s when emotional responses to issues tend to resemble a roller-coaster ride.

Personally, I find reality and relevance in the words of Jesus: “Don’t worry about what you will eat and drink or wear.

Your Heavenly Father knows you need these things. But seek Him first, and all these other things will be given you”.

This is the reality that faith in God and trust in Jesus, unlocks. This is what will keep our motors singing as the miles of life pass by – knowing where we’re going and the way to get there is to maintain a constant rhythm of joyous responses to the blessings God bestows upon us.