Jesus tells us that if we have faith as small as a mustard seed, then we can move mountains. Why, then, do people still die of cancer, even when there are hundreds, sometimes thousands of "faithful" people praying for their healing? There was faith, true belief that the cancer would be removed, the marriage would be restored, the job would be offered, the child would live, yet none of these things came to be. Instead we are often left with relapses, broken homes, foreclosures and heartbreaking funerals. Surely, the mountains were not moved.
But what if they were? Could it be that mountains are being moved all around us, but we fail to see them because they aren't the mountains that we were praying about?
On Sunday night we took our family to church and heard a sermon preached by a Calvin Seminary student. I will admit, when I saw that a student was going to be preaching, I was less than thrilled, because these sermons are often a little awkward to listen to. On this night, though, I heard something totally new. Maybe it had been preached before in a sermon that I sat through, but I never heard it. The student preached on Matthew 17:14-23, which occurs right after the transfiguration. There is a crowd and in the middle, a father who has brought his son to Jesus' disciples to be healed. However, the disciples were unable to heal him. When Jesus enters the picture, he calls them out for their lack of faith. He goes on to tell them that the power that is available to them is the same power that will be displayed at the resurrection.
The message went on from there a bit, and then the student started sharing the story of a young child with cancer and the community that rallied around her. Not only did they work to meet the physical needs of the family, but they prayed with great faith that this child would be healed. However that was not to be. Now, this is where I heard something new. The student said that in this story, a mountain was moved. The mountain was not the health of the child, but the community and their response to the situation.
I think that this really resonated with me because of our current situation. Right now we are kind of in a holding pattern. We are waiting for paperwork to wind its way through a lengthy governmental process, we are waiting for funds to come available to us, we are waiting for our house to sell. I see all of these things as mountains that need to be moved.
However, what if in the end, this whole thing falls through. What if our paperwork isn't approved? What if we can't come up with any more money and lose the opportunity to go? What if our house doesn't sell, or on the other hand, what if it does sell, but we end up not moving and are now home-less? What if I am praying about these things, and, by faith, I truly believe they are going to happen, but they don't? Does that mean that God is out of the business of mountain moving, or does it just mean that he was busy moving mountains that I didn't realize needed to be moved?
I think about this a lot, as I cry out to God "I believe. Help my unbelief". If things fall through, I don't believe that it will be because of a lack of faith on our part, although I know the devil has been busy trying to get me to go down this path! I have found myself thinking about areas in my own life where God might want to do some rearranging. I think of my marriage, my mothering, the way I use our resources, the kind of friend I am, the way I spend my time. These are all areas where change is needed and would be beneficial to me and to those around me. Is it possible that, instead of moving us to Africa to bring about some of these changes, God might see fit to bring about these changes by having our plans fall through? Yes, I believe it is. Would this totally stink? Yup. I'm not gonna lie, but I have thought it through and it would be a tough pill to swallow. BUT if God knew that there was something in my life that needed to change and this was the only way He'd be able to move me, it would be worth it. Painful, but still worth it.
Even now, in this time of waiting, I know He is busy moving mountains. I want to have eyes to see all He is doing. I want to be more grateful for the things that I often see as setbacks and have a greater awareness of how He is working all around us every day.