Why can I not move mountains? After all, Jesus said that if I had the faith of a mustard seed, I could do just that. I remember after the first time I read that, being a young boy, I wanted to try it. I didn’t live near a mountain so I focused my eyes on a nearby hill. I focused intensely on the hill—jaw clenched, eyebrows in, grip tightened. (My sister will tell you that when I focus intensely, I do this weird thing with my lips.) Well, my small neighborhood mountain never moved and for years, I thought little of Jesus’s statement.
Today, I have plenty of money to get by from day to day. I’ve never known hunger; for being a Christian I’ve never been threatened to be thrown in prison or tortured. I live in a beautiful area near the Arkansas river just outside of downtown Little Rock. The crime rate in my neighborhood is superbly low. I drive a car that I’ve had since high school, which I’m certain will fall apart in the next year, but I frequently go out to eat at nice restaurants nearby with friends that I find smart and funny and I’ve plenty of clothes and nice clothes at that. Ours is a world of diversified investment portfolios, fifty-plus-page contracts, gated communities, life insurance, liability insurance, health insurance, renter’s insurance, homeowner’s insurance, investment insurance, property insurance, unemployment insurance, and blah blippity blah blah . . . insurance. In sum, we like certainty. A lot.
There’s this passage in the New Testament where Jesus tells his followers to go out into the nearby towns to tell about him. He tells them not to bring any money, no extra clothes, no food, nothing. On their journey, they were able to do all kinds of miraculous things through the holy spirit.
There’s another passage in the Old Testament about a man named Gideon. There was nothing impressive at all about Gideon, yet God chose him to lead his army (note: There’s a lot of war in the Old Testament and this really trips people up about the Bible. I’ll write about this some other time but there’s a reason for this) against the Midianites. When Gideon prepared to lead the men into battle, they had thirty-two thousand soldiers. God told Gideon that he had too many soldiers and in the end, Gideon was left with only three-hundred. I’m skipping a bunch here to keep your and my attention but God delivered the Midianites to the Hebrews in a decisive victory. If you read the Old Testament, this basic narrative happens over and over: God’s people are put in a position of absolutely having to rely on God and God comes through.
So that brings me back to my mountain. Its really no surprise that it doesn’t move—I have no purpose for it to move. I’m by no means relying on God to move the mountain. I merely would be amused if he did. Faith is more than some kind of assent to the fact that God exists. Faith is not only believing that he exists, but utterly depending on the awesomeness of his power. After all, we’re talking about the creator the universe, the creator who has put his spirit in you and promised that you would be able to do more than Jesus ever did.
Find yourself depending on God more. Make yourself vulnerable. Do this and you will find yourself closer to God and safer than you’ve ever felt in your life. I promise. God does too.