There is a road that leads into Pormpuraaw. Two hundred and seven kilometres of dirt road. It only leads to Pormpuraaw. Main Roads keeps it drivable just for those who drive into Pormpuraaw. There are segments of bitumen along this road but they are short and sweet. Just enough time to rearrange your seating, relax your shoulders a bit, hear the words properly in the song that is playing, then prepare for the dirt yet again.

Did I tell you yet that the road is dirt? Dirt, sand, rocks, stones, and as you get into town, shell grit and more sand. The road doesn’t change much. The scenery doesn’t change much. Sometimes you see a fence line. Sometimes a river with a bridge. Sometimes mounds of dirt or man-made pools of water for the purposes of Main Roads maintenance.

This road is also well known for its dips. Dips that you don’t know about, because there is no road sign to tell you so. You just have to be prepared for whenever. Just as you get up speed and seem to be going well, there it is, another dip and you don’t quite know if this one will send you out of your seat or just remind you that you need to go to the toilet.

When I first travelled this road, I was full of high expectations for going to a place I’d heard about but never seen. I had far too many questions for my husband who patiently answered those he could and then told me to wait and answer the others for myself.

The next time I travelled it, I was leaving Pormpuraaw after a long, long wet season. It was more of a flight, a chance to be “out”. To get away from that closed-in feeling that had slowly crept up on me. Wet season in Pormpuraaw means you can travel 1 km to the south and 7 km to the north (to the Chapman and Moonkan Rivers respectively). The Gulf of Carpentaria is west of us and THE ROAD is east. When that road is closed—covered with water—there is nowhere to go. So you can imagine the excitement when travelling this time- I hardly saw the dirt or felt the dips. I hardly noticed the 8 hours it took to get back to “the land of plenty”. It’s amazing how your mind and circumstances can influence how you feel about this road.

I think we all have “roads” that we are called to travel on. Some may think or say, we are entitled to have the comfort of a bitumen road; a smooth, typical, non-bumpy road. One that makes sense, suits us or fits us with the rest of society. One that we think is God’s plan for us. But, God is the road maker; the one in control, the Creator. He sometimes puts us on dirt roads; roads that have dips and soft sand and rocks. Roads that require patience and endurance and even cause affliction. And sometimes there’s no road sign beforehand to tell you there’s a dip ahead. He just places them there. But he is a Provider. He gives us the equipment we need to handle these dirt roads. His grace, his mercy, his strength, his hope.

For years, I’ve travelled a “dirt road.” One I wasn’t expecting to travel on. But one God has set for me. The dips have jolted me, the soft sand has left me powerless, the rocks have hurt. But he has held me, led me, and guided me down this road. His word is ever true and ever real each and every day because he is with me on my dirt road. He is not only the road-maker but the driver. I am in good hands.

Psalm 103:2 “Bless the Lord O my soul, and forget not all His benefits”

Psalm 107:1 “Oh give thanks to the Lord for He is good. For His mercy endures forever.”

Psalm 28:7 “The Lord is my strength and shield, My heart trusted in Him and I am helped. Therefore my heart greatly rejoices, and with my song I will praise Him.”

Psalm 18: 36 “You enlarged my path under me, so that my feet did not slip.”

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About Alana Milson

Alana is a primary school teacher. She and her husband, David lived in Cairns for over 17 years but are now living in Cape York in a remote Aboriginal community. Alana enjoys teaching in many different capacities, reading missionary biographies and pursuing biblical womanhood.


  1. Grace 15 September, 2010 at 7:01 pm

    Hi Alana – now here’s a woman talking my kind of language in my kind of world! I so have appreciated reading these – i plan to read them more than once as I think they will help on those rough days (even though the road to ‘town’ has recently been bitumenised!) thanks heaps Alana –

  2. Apo 15 September, 2010 at 11:33 pm

    Thank you…

  3. George 16 September, 2010 at 2:12 am

    Your elegant musings were a blessing to me.

  4. Lyn 17 September, 2010 at 10:12 pm

    What can I say… that little 7 year old girl who once took my hand and led me to the poster that said, “All things work together for good to those who are called according to His purpose..” when I was agonising over some very severely chopped rubber trees (that eventually grew back lush and tall) continues to bless me with her grace and understanding of Gods ways. Thank you Alana. I’m so glad that my Driver knew so perfectly the many dirt roads that He has given me to travel on over the years. The dips never surprised Him like they surprised me. “Underneath are the Everlasting Arms”

  5. Jessica 22 September, 2010 at 11:13 pm

    Now I can think of you much more often as we travel down our bumpy dirt road (albeit much shorter!) Thanks for the description and the spiritual insights!

  6. Hezza 3 October, 2010 at 9:48 pm

    Amen, sister! The best thing about that long road to Pomp is that you (with your hospitality and many long chats) are at the end of it… your description was spot-on and your insight was a perfect parallel! you are Sharp as ever xxx

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