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              “I did this so you would trust not in human wisdom but in the power of God.”                  (1 Corinthians 2:5)

As I drove from my hometown to a neighboring community, I could not help but marvel at the new section of highway being developed.  About midway through the 30-mile trek, the four-lane highway narrows as it navigates through a mountain passage. The tapering of the road from four lanes to two has long been a sticking point for those who experience an inconvenient backup during peak travel times.  Extending the four-lane cut through the mountain has been almost impossible for locals to envision, given the existing earthly impediments. But before my very eyes, it was happening. The deep corridor two-lane road barricaded on one side by steep rock formations and on the other by a canyon creek bed had, over the last few years, been widened into the former mountainside. This could only have been projected by a team of talented civil engineers who had captured a vision before them . . . to move a mountain.

Mountain-moving was the topic of a tough conversation Jesus had with His disciples. When they failed to cast out a demon from a boy whose father had brought him to the disciples, Jesus reprimanded them for their weak faith. Instead “Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed at that moment. Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, ‘Why couldn’t we drive it out?’ He replied, ‘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. Nothing will be impossible for you’” (Matthew 17:18-20). It is clear in this situation that Jesus didn’t intend to declare that mustard seed-sized faith would literally move a mountain. The point of Jesus’ comparison was that if the faith of his disciples was stronger – they could have commanded the demon to leave the boy, and it would be so.

Our faith makes a difference in our lives only because God is the sovereign one who rules over all things. In January, 2015 – a rebellious, adopted teenager named John (Ruiz) Smith drowned in Lake Saint Louis after being underwater for 15 minutes.  His lifeless body was retrieved and taken to St. Joseph Hospital West and for 43 minutes, CPR was performed on him. But he remained unresponsive. Then the youth’s mother, Joyce Smith, pleaded with the Holy Spirit to not let John die, at which point a faint pulse was noted. After John is transferred and put into a medically-induced coma, his parents were warned that there is little hope. Then Joyce began to turn John’s possible recovery into an obsession, harassing the health care professionals and clashing with their church’s new liberal pastor with whom she eventually bonds. Through their devout faith and the prayerful support received from the community – John is revived, slowly regains consciousness, and recaptures full cognitive ability.  In a short period of time, he was discharged from the hospital and returned to school. His story, labeled as nothing less than a miracle, was made into the 2019 Christian movie entitled “Breakthrough.”

On yet another occasion, Jesus stated: “I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart. I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours” (Mark 11:22-23). It is important to understand that if we need a mountain to be moved, then God is certainly capable of doing so. He will do whatever is necessary and right for the fulfillment of His will and plan for our lives.  We all have obstacles that are so large and daunting that conquering them seems to be virtually impossible.  Jesus clearly reminds us that even a little bit of faith—faith the size of a tiny mustard seed—can overcome these mountains we are facing. Like those trained civil engineers who aptly build roadways through impossible landscapes, we must capture the vision and simply invite Him to be by our side.

REFLECTION: Consider the mountains before you at this time.  How have you approached them? When you are facing obstacles that seem to be intimidating, do you focus on how you will bring yourself to persevere? Or do you give faithful attention to an all-powerful God who can get you to the other side of the storm? In what ways might you be able to change your resolve from dependence on yourself to Him?


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