“The glory of God is man fully alive.”

St Irenaeus, bishop of Lyons (France), 2nd century AD.

The excitement is building, along with the nervous anticipation. For so long it seemed a long way off. Now we’re nearly ready.

As much as I’m looking forward to the hike, now only a week away, I also find myself contemplating the journey we’ve been on already. It is almost a year since eight men came together to explore options for an extended bushwalk. What an epic adventure it’s been so far!

Over that time, we’ve invested hundreds of hours in preparation. We’ve been talking, meeting, planning, researching, trying, buying, comparing, evaluating and, of course … training! I’ve sensed a strengthening of the bond between us as we have worked toward a common goal. Friendships have deepened and respect has been earnt.

It would be fair to say it hasn’t all been smooth sailing. As with any undertaking, there have been obstacles. Many decisions have had to be made, often involving compromise. Sacrifices have been called for. Collectively, we’ve overcome three surgeries as well as the ongoing demands of juggling work, family life and fatherhood.

I believe that we are about to reap the rewards of our hard work.

We are going to be in the thick of one of the most spectacular regions of our country. The effort demanded by this adventure will seem inconsequential as we experience so many iconic landmarks.

I’m not sure if St Irenaeus had bushwalking in mind when he coined the phrase at the beginning of this blog, but I can’t think of a better way to bring glory to our Creator than to spend time appreciating a magnificent part of his creation. It’s not lost on me as I read the Bible that God seems to be in the habit of speaking to men who put themselves in wilderness locations. There is something powerful about withdrawing from our comforts for a time and immersing ourselves in what he has made. I can’t wait to see what God will do during this trip.

So it’s down to the last few training sessions, the packing and, soon, the travelling. “Pay now, or pay more later” will soon be a thing of the past!

Let’s make this a memorable trip!