The beauty and the challenge of the Simpson Desert
The beauty and the challenge of the Simpson Desert Charlie Ferguson

Spiritual Matters: Preparation can precede pleasure

STANDING on top of “Big Red”, the reality hit me. We’d done it. We’d crossed the iconic Simpson Desert.

It all began two years ago when I decided to tick another item off my ‘bucket list’: Drive the Simpson Desert.

Finding a suitable 4WD was one of the easier tasks. The preparation list expanded from there. The vehicle had to be meticulously prepared, with attention given to quality suspension components. Then we had to consider the possibility of parts breaking or wearing out unexpectedly, so the most vulnerable parts had to be replaced regardless of the fact they were still serviceable.

Fuel was an issue. We needed to carry a minimum of 180 litres to see us through to the next fuel stop, Birdsville. Should we fit an expensive auxiliary fuel tank or carry the extra fuel in jerry cans. And if the latter, where would we store them. And water. Another 80 litres and another storage solution to be found.

We then had to work out sleeping arrangements: Rooftop tent, swags or stand-alone tent? And what did we need to carry to feed ourselves for the duration of the crossing? That led to further considerations of storage and cooking equipment.

We then became concerned that we had no travelling companions to share the experience with and provide a safety net should things go wrong. Jumping on to the internet, I discovered that the ‘tag- along’ groups that provide this service were currently concentrating their attention on Cape York.

We’d missed the boat. For the tag-along groups, the Simpson Desert had closed for the year. So we postponed the trip, but acted immediately to secure a spot for 2016. Finally, on May 2, we set off on our long- planned journey of a lifetime – heading for Alice Springs where we would join our tag-along group.

Apart from the rain which closed outback tracks, we arrived on schedule on May 22, and the main phase of our journey kicked off.

It was awesome! The driving exhilarating, the weather perfect, the company great. And to top it all off, we had no mechanical issues with the car over 8500kms of horrendous corrugations, loose sand, towering dunes, billowing dust, water and mud. Our preparations had paid off big time.

What a journey! And what a joy to have finally reached our goal.

Life itself is much like this. Thorough preparation for the future is a must. Only then can we be assured of realising the fullness of the dream that is wrapped up in our purpose for being and in the wholesome plans of our Creator God. There can be no short cuts.

For me, the satisfaction of driving to the top of “Big Red”, at the conclusion of an epic journey will be hard to top.

But it will be topped – when standing in the presence of God on that final day, knowing I have focused on the task of being the person God intends me to be, and have conscientiously and thoroughly prepared for that moment.

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