By Mike Gilland
It has been a couple of years ago now – that moment in our lives when Cindy and I became empty-nesters. We had made it across that finish line of seeing our last child – our baby girl – become the wife of a fine young man that we loved, and now, lying before us, was a vista that we had tried to prepare for but couldn’t quite imagine. And you know what – though different, it was much better than we had imagined. We are beyond blessed to have three of our grown and married children living in Orlando, and now…we are back there too. It wasn’t always like this, though…in fact, for a number of years, just after her marriage, my next-to-youngest daughter moved to the polar opposite area of the US, and lived there for a couple of years. Her home was Portland, Oregon…and from her city, you could see a different kind of vista than I described above.
A LITERAL vista – of MOUNTAINS!
In fact, among other peaks, she could see Mount Hood, a volcanic monster of a mountain, that gives the entire Portland area a distinctive iconic skyline.
The mountains are amazing to me. My first ever trip to the Rockies was a breathtaking experience. Cindy and I had lunch one day in the Rocky Mountain National Park, and I will never forget how I felt as I sat on a park bench and ate a sandwich with truly “purple mountains” rising up in front of me. Singing “America the Beautiful” would never be the same for me!
But while literal mountains are indeed beautiful, difficulties and hardships that seem like mountains are breathtaking too, in a radically different way. A sudden job loss, a tragic diagnosis, or even a sudden accident can loom before us – leaving us with a sense that this problem is a mountain that is not scalable.
My Mom had a saying that she uttered to me during my entire “growing up” years in Indiana. I can remember talking to her while trying my best to grasp difficult concepts in school. She would say with the greatest sincerity, “Son, just remember that what is ‘hard by the yard is a cinch by the inch.” That advice has proven to be so helpful to me.
Like the time Cindy and I lost a child…talk about having your breath taken away. Yet, God’s amazing grace sustained us moment by moment, until we could see that we were going to make it. Using Mom’s analogy, we took the present difficulties an inch at a time. That was all we could handle at the moment…but soon after that moment passed, we could look back and see how far we had come.
If you have mountains before you today, take my Mom’s advice, and then take that first step in faith. You’re going to make it.
Mike Gilland is Operations Manager for The Shepherd Radio Network, a group of radio stations in Florida that features the “Christian Teach/Talk” format. Mike hosts a daily talk radio show in the 2 PM hour called “Afternoons with Mike”, talking to local pastors and newsmakers. In Orlando, The Shepherd is heard on WIWA, AM 1270. In addition to his broadcast experience, Mike spent 36 years in full-time ministry as a pastor and worship leader. As a guitarist, Mike performs at concerts, restaurants, private parties, etc. He is married to Cindy, the father of four grown children and grandfather to seven grandchildren.