"Don't focus on the mountain; focus on your next step." We were at about 4,000 feet, wearily plodding straight up, straight down, then straight up again. It apparently never occurred to our Cuban hosts to wind your way up a mountain by circling it. Mountains to them are not meant to be circumvented; they are to be conquered! They did so with a vengeance tempered only by our flabby muscles that complained every step of the way. I tapped the thigh of pastor Rafael; he wasn't flexing, but it felt like a rock. The hardest part of the climb for them was having to stop for us. But stop, they did, much to the relief of our wheezing lungs and aching limbs.
When we had reached our limit, thinking we just couldn't handle the mountain that loomed before us, Tony spoke the words that made all the difference. The mountain would yield if we just took the next step. We might take that step more slowly than our Cuban friends, but take it, we would, until the mountain stood silent behind us.
Scraping our barn for painting, I thought of those words today. I had been at it for seven hours, climbing up and down the ladder, constantly scraping, till I could barely move my arms. Linda encouraged me to call it a day at 4:00, but I could see the end in sight. I reached it at 6:00, then took a load of leaves to the village compost pile. Someone had dropped off some good maple chunks that would have been perfect for the winter's woodpile, but I was too tired to load them into the truck. But the barn is ready for paint!
Psalm 119:105 says that God's Word "is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path." It's not a searchlight, but a flickering lamp that illumines one step at a time. Life doesn't present itself to us in full daylight, where we can see the entire course laid out before us; we walk in a world of spiritual darkness where we must walk by faith because the light of Christ shines just one step at a time. We have neither the wisdom nor the strength to tackle more than that daily step, so I am grateful tonight for Tony's encouragement and wisdom. It was good in Cuba, and it was good today.