By Mark Callaghan

The bike of life - Riding pillion

Ah, the freedom and daring of youth. On a balmy summer's day in the early 70's I crossed Sydney Harbour to visit my brother in North Sydney. He was a professional rider, and we decided to ride back across the Bridge on his Honda 4, a much more interesting way to return home than the red rattler electric train on offer.

Now I had ridden and been pillion passenger on bikes enough to know what to expect, but it had been a few years. We took off and cruised briskly along the Bridge in very light traffic – the wind in our hair, the sun at our backs, sports exhaust crackling – a perfect Saturday afternoon ride.

At the Southern end is the corkscrew exit that takes you off the Bridge and round and up above Circular Quay on to the Cahill Expressway. Entering that tightest of bends, bike laid right over, foot-pegs showering sparks behind us, we roared into the tunnel.

Riding pillion
Riding pillion. File photo

As I lifted my head I realised that I was looking up at the wheel nuts of a semi-trailer on the inside lane. My knee-jerk response was to sit bolt upright or jump off – but the only chance of survival as a pillion is to totally trust the rider's judgement and ability, and continue to lean into corners with him – two riding as one.

The fresh sea air above the Quay was a welcome relief – my confidence had paid off. My brother's ability to ride may have been extreme but was safe. We could have motored sedately around those bends, but what a thrill we would have missed!

Life has been described as a journey – a pilgrimage. Sometimes it seems as if we are stuck in traffic, making our way slowly from day to day. Other times life takes us into unexpected twists and turns, and challenges and trials arise, threatening to over-take us – then the ride becomes exhilarating.

Faith is just like a bike ride. Faith is much more than just 'believing'. It's that all-encompassing trust that is the only option to survive the ride of life. Christian faith rests in Jesus Christ – on his character – his unblemished riding record - and his ability to complete the journey that he started. He is able to take you and me - whoever has this trusting faith - with him.

That same temptation to take control and sit up or jump off can arise, but we need to stay close to Jesus, following his every move, leaning into the corners with him, and letting him choose the route and do the riding. It's safer and much more exciting that way.

The Apostle Paul wrote that he was "confident of this very thing, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus". Jesus did not call us to fall or to fail. The journey will have difficulties, but He will bring us safely to our destination.

That's my confidence in this world in which there is often little to trust – my ride of faith for over thirty years.

<< He said: ‘I am the Life’
Norris’ son forges his own path >>