Move! That did not do it. Move, please? Again, nothing happened. What was I doing wrong? Like, I had my Starbucks; I was up to date on my magazine reading. Why wasn’t it going anywhere, fleeing into a proverbial sea? My mountain was not retreating, and I just did not understand why.
I had seen many mountains in my life, but this one, well, this one was big! I realized as soon as it presented itself that it would need to be dealt with. So I leaned not on my own understanding, “mustard”… ok, a little joke… mustered all the faith I could find, and commanded that mountain to move in the name of my Savior. I waited for the clouds to part, for the fog to fill the air, and the “poof” to happen, but instead there it sat, staring at me as if to say “Na na na na na”!
Jesus said in His word, in three different places, that if I had the faith the size of a mustard seed I could tell a mountain to move, or a tree to uproot and replant itself, and it would. I quickly assumed I must not be working hard enough to have that kind of faith. So, being the Southern gal that I am, I of course did what is natural for any self respecting Steel Magnolia. I worked harder at my faith.
It was like an extreme faith workout makeover- Biblical P90X for the Christian Gal. I spent more time reading my Bible. I watched so many sermons about faith on the Internet that I became familiar with pastors before they became pastors. I even interviewed other “Mountain Movers” about faith, and here and there I soon began to feel I might be performing the whole faith thing well enough to move my mountain.
I guess you can see where this is going. I, on the other hand, did not. That is until one day I called my girlfriend in a complete pity party/crisis of faith (something we Southern women also do rather well) to console me. She listened, and as she clicked her manicured nails on her granite countertop she bluntly pointed out a very poignant fact. “Girl, I think that maybe you need to realize the mountain isn’t yours. It is His. It exists because He is allowing it to. Dare I ask, have you asked for permission to move it, or are you trying to orchestrate this whole thing on your own?”
Wow… Okay, being that I am, let’s say, hmm… at best… a little rebellious; she lost me at permission. About two seconds later God grabbed my heart, and asked that I take a longer look at Jesus’ words about faith. I soon began to realize that faith was something that was as foreign to me as Awamat or Knefe (Middle Eastern desserts that sound fabulous though I have never eaten them!).
He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you. Luke 17:6
I have always interpreted Luke 17:6 and Matthew 17:20 to say that my faith should be the physical size of a mustard seed (large or small). I realized however, that maybe in addition to size (because Jesus looks at much more than the exterior of His creation) maybe He was referring to its physical characteristics.
I was encouraged in this thought as I studied the original text and the word for “like” (like a mustard seed). The original Hebrew text “hōs” actually was translated to be “as” or “in likeness”.
Hmmmm, so now I have to check out this thing called a mustard seed and what does it “do” to have faith? What is it like? Funniest thing… I realized that a mustard seed just is what it is, a seed. It doesn’t really have to try to be anything it just gets planted into the ground and grows. It trusts it will be taken care of, and it will become what the Creator wants it to be.
As a matter of fact a mustard seed is planted as one of the smallest of seeds, and it turns into one of the largest plants (Kind of like different parts of my body have done as I have stepped over the forty-year-old threshold) It trusts that God is in control and it is not. It trusts God to give it the stuff it needs to grow. It also trusts that should a mountain need to move, should that mountain not be good for the seed, that God will in fact, in His time, move it.
As I sat looking at my mountain, I chose to see it differently. I still did not like it, not at all. But I knew He did not like it either. This world was not originally designed for me to have to deal with mountains, but when I choose my way and not God’s, well I get freedom… and some mountains… some valleys… and some desserts. You caught me, yes, deserts. He does use those mountains for our good before he moves them, if we let Him.
By His grace I began to realize that the only way I was ever going to understand the faith of a mustard seed was to pray that God would help me to understand what that meant. “Lord, will you please give me faith “as” a mustard seed so I can trust you fully and see this mountain here in front of me will move if it is your will?”
The craziest thing happened. In my prayer time, I stopped working towards growing that seed of faith on my own, I began resting in Him, and learning about the seed. Each day He directed me, and each day I trusted He would come through. He did.
Time passes (wrinkle creams are purchased), the season changes and my seed begins to bloom. Lo and Behold… one day I look up and guess what? My mountain had moved! While I was resting in Him, just like a mustard seed does, He was moving it! In this case He actually guided me around my mountain. Since then He has also taken me over some, through some, and under some (Not great on the hair let me just tell ya!).
I am learning that everything belongs to Him and faith is really letting go. It takes so much more strength to do that than to hold on, doesn’t it? So as for “me, and my mountain” I go back to a song I learned as a child, and simply smile at the God I know who loves me very much. “Oh the Lord’s been good to me, and so I thank the Lord. For giving me, the things I need, the sun, and the rain… and the mustard seed”. Yes, the Lord has been good to me!