Some Mountains Don’t Move

mtSo I have always wondered about the response Jesus gave his disciples when in frustration they asked him why they had failed to cast the demons out of a young man whose father then brought him to Jesus.

“You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them.  “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to mountain, ‘move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.” – Matthew 17:20

It gets worse.  It’s not as though they’d never seen the miraculous.  This incident took place immediately after they descended from the top of the mountain where they had seen the face of Jesus shining like the sun, his clothing white as light; the very place where Moses and Elijah appeared and the voice of God spoke from the cloud, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.  Listen to him.”

(Big sigh.)  If they didn’t have enough faith after such a monumental experience, what hope do I have? Even if I could somehow conjure up enough faith, what if it’s not the right kind?  Are there varying degrees and multiple varieties of faith? If so, how will I ever get by with my little faith, my weak faith – my faltering faith? Who can tell me what quantity or quality is needed to get that mountain moved and while we’re on the subject, why am I so convinced this one needs to move, anyway?

Immediately I recall the words of the Apostle Paul in I Corinthians 13:2:  “…if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but I didn’t love others, I would be nothing.”  Everyone is talking about love as a verb.  I get that – we are, after all, commanded to love.  But there’s something greater than faith, and the scriptures also tell me that “God is love.”   (I John 4:16)

In the Christian message alone, love precedes life; in every other worldview, life precedes love.  Therefore, in the Christian framework, love has a point of reference: God Himself.  Ravi Zacharias

I began thinking of Love as a person – THE person who, along with his two companions (Faith and Hope), is making this journey with me.  It takes Faith to accept what Love has already done and to place our hope in Love’s ability to carry us safely through this life and into the next.  It takes Hope to look ahead and cling to the ultimate fulfillment of what Love has promised all along. All three are important and all are necessary but without the enduring faithful love of God, Faith and Hope don’t get the job done.

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. – Hebrews 11:1

Love was moved with compassion.  Love came down to seek and to save our poor lost souls. Love gave it all and paid our sin debt on a hideous cross of suffering. Love had the power to rise in victory over sin and death and hell, thus fulfilling the eternal plan and promises of God.  I am overwhelmed with this love and the realization that, to put it in Squire Parsons’ words (from one of my favorite Southern Gospel songs), “when I could not come to where he was, he came to me!”

Love is alive and well, calling us to exercise faith, have hope, and rest assured that he will make a way – not to grant our wildest dreams, promote our own agendas or participate in our self-absorbed schemes – but rather, to fulfill his good intentions, his perfect will and his greatest joy in our lives.

An active faith can remove mountains, not of itself, but in the virtue of a divine power engaged by a divine promise, both which faith fastens upon. – Matthew Henry

So don’t be discouraged with that insurmountable obstacle looming on the horizon. You may have examined all the options, looking at it from every angle.  You’ve worried, wept and prayed, but the situation hasn’t changed. That mountain stubbornly stands in the way, like Goliath to David, taunting you in your weakness, threatening to fulfill your worst fear and turn it into humiliation and failure.

But some mountains don’t move.  Maybe it’s supposed to be there. So whether God wants to remove it or take you to the top, no matter how miserably you’ve failed or how deeply you’ve fallen, remember this:

Love will make a way for me to stand on a mountain
That looks like it’s here to stay;
Love will make a way over and around it
To claim my hope and faith!
Goodness and mercy are running after me, but
Love will make a way!

These three things will last forever – faith, hope and love – and the greatest of these is love.
I Corinthians 13:13

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Heidi

I walked a mile with Pleasure, she chatted all the way;
But left me none the wiser for all she had to say.
I walked a mile with Sorrow, and ne’er a word said she;
But, oh, the things I learned from her when Sorrow walked with me!
– Robert Browning Hamilton

harpNearly ten years had passed since Eli died and Nancy and I had only seen each other a couple of times. We had a lot of catching up to do, so while our husbands discussed a remodeling project we covered a decade in a matter of minutes.  She showed me a lovely assortment of goats milk soaps she had made, beautifully wrapped and ready for gift baskets.

We cried as she described the day of the accident and spoke of the faithfulness of God through the days and weeks that followed. We laughed as she introduced me to the three beautiful children the Lord had blessed them with since that time. Her eyes sparkled as her oldest son entered the room. Zach, who had suffered for months in the hospital, was now a handsome young man who had managed somehow to find his smile again.

And then there was Heidi.

She was almost four years old when it happened, and she was there at the scene of the accident: old enough to know that something terrible had taken place, old enough to be traumatized and feel her family’s pain, but not old enough to understand the depth of that loss or why Eli wasn’t coming home; old enough to be told he had gone to live with Jesus but not old enough to know what forever meant – certainly not old enough to have a full-sized harp, which is exactly what she wanted for her next birthday.

Her parents didn’t understand her request and frankly, were puzzled by it. After all, they weren’t that musical and couldn’t imagine why, of all instruments, she would have her heart set on that one!

Years passed and with every birthday that rolled around, Heidi reminded them of her request. The autoharp they gave her was nice but she wanted a real harp for her birthday. So finally, once she was big enough to carry it, Heidi got that harp, even though her mother had to drive her 40 miles to the city for lessons. And now, this beautiful young lady with strawberry blonde hair and shining eyes was standing in front of me, smiling shyly as I voiced my surprise in seeing her walk in with a full-sized harp.

“This is nice,” I thought, completely unprepared for the rush of emotions that would wash over me as she began. That girl could play!

I stared hard out the window, hoping to get control of that huge lump in my throat, but to no avail. I trembled as I fought to stifle the sobs erupting uncontrollably as a picture flashed through my mind. It was Eli running through a field of flowers and sunshine – smiling and waving, mischief in his eyes as he called for Heidi and the rest of us to join him.

It took me quite awhile to regain my composure after that, for in that moment, the mystery of eternal life didn’t seem mysterious at all – it’s promise, once distant and unimaginable, seemed well within our reach.  It was almost as though the windows of heaven had opened up to our curious gaze and the angels strained to listen as a young girl took the stage and stormed my heart at a little-known country venue in a once-in-a-lifetime exclusive Concert for One.

Music is a gift from the heart of God, given to bless mankind; mend the broken heart, heal the wounded spirit and soothe the restless soul.  He sings over his children and quiets us with His love. He sends us special moments of inspiration when we least expect them and need them the most.