Faith to Move Mountains

When I first committed my life to follow Christ (way back in the last century, when I was a teenager), my faith was tiny. In fact, if I knew what a mustard seed looked like, I might have been tempted to say that it was as small as that.

But as it turns out, Jesus sets that as the goal for the size of my faith and yours:

“Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move.”

Jesus, in Matthew 17:20 (NIV)

This means that my faith was even smaller than a tiny seed.

Why would Jesus say this? I mean, most of the time, I feel like I have a strong faith. Did He say this to make us feel bad about our lack of faith?

No, I don’t think so.

Why Mustard Seeds?

You might ask why Jesus chose to compare our faith to mustard seeds, and that would be a good question. He actually explains this in a couple other talks He has with His disciples, such as in Matthew 13:

“The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.”

Jesus, in Matthew 13:31-32 (NIV)

So, it’s actually OK if our faith starts small. But it’s meant to grow. In fact, it’s meant to grow to something larger than we could have imagined. God plants a tiny seed in us, then cultivates it by working in us and through us. God will grow our faith, if we’re willing to cooperate with Him to do that.

But There’s Still a Pickle

But this brings up something that could be problematic. As I said, I feel like I generally have a strong faith in God. I would describe that my little mustard seed has grown into at least a big bush, on its way to a strong tree.

But I’ve never moved a mountain.

Or have I?

When I think about the person I am now compared to the person I used to be, I realize that God has moved mountains within me. By no means am I saying I’m perfect or that I have it all together, but I do think God has made me into a much better version of myself than I used to be. He has helped me jettison so much garbage from my heart: anger, being judgmental, selfishness. He has shown me how to love my wife and others better. He has carried away the fear that I’ve reluctantly handed over to Him in midst of countless sleepless nights.

If you had told me decades ago that God was going to help me move these mountains within me, I probably would have laughed (or cried). Given the enormity of the challenge, I would have deemed such changes to be impossible.

Yet here I am. While I have many miles to go, I’m certainly closer to the man God intended for me to be than I was when I first accepted Jesus into my heart and life.

But What About…?

There have been plenty of things that I have prayed for which have not come to fruition. Even though I prayed, all full of faith, for my mom and mother-in-law to be healed, they still passed away. A dear friend of mine is still on the verge of losing her decade-long struggle against cancer. Two out of my three grown children are still prodigals. Our country is on the brink of falling apart, and our world is on the precipice of a nuclear disaster.

Why does it seem that my prayers are so ineffective in the shadow of these mountains?

There are lots of ways to answer this question. But I don’t want to turn this into an endless blog, so let me summarize it this way: we judge the success of our prayers and the strength of our faith by outcomes. Specifically, the outcomes that we wanted.

But God has given us a heads-up that His outcomes may be unrecognizable as positive to us:

“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Isaiah 55:9 (NIV)

And through the Apostle Paul, He has assured us:

Borrowed from YouVersion

So, we may be tempted to conclude that our prayers didn’t work and that our faith is weak because a situation didn’t end up like we wanted it to. But God tells us we can’t jump to that conclusion. He answers our prayers, but His answers may not look like answers to us because the outcomes aren’t what we wanted. Or maybe the timing isn’t what we had hoped for.

But we need to let God be God.

He asks us to trust Him, and believe that He is working for our good. He assures us that when we have faith in Him:

“Nothing will be impossible for you.”

The rest of Matthew 17:20 (NIV)

When we do that, when trust Him and have faith in Him, we may look back in a week or a month or a decade and realize that our mountains have moved after all.

About Writing & Photography by David K. Carpenter

Photographer of Light and Life, Writer of Life as it finds me
This entry was posted in Christian, Faith and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Faith to Move Mountains

  1. djlcon says:

    I readily agree that having faith and trust in our savior is so crucial and comforting
    Mine is on a yo-yo sometimes but im getting better
    Your blog really helps as always
    So timely and point on… and uplifting
    Thanks SIL

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