Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him.Mark 11:23
Have you ever thought of something that you wish you would have said in a conversation, but you didn’t think of it until later? This happened to me in a Bible study recently.
We were discussing one of the teaching moments that Jesus had with His disciples just a couple of days before His crucifixion. We were in Mark 11, where Jesus gave a short but powerful lesson in prayer.
Jesus told the disciples that when they prayed they should pray with complete confidence that God could and would do what they asked. Using hyperbole to underscore the point, He told them that praying in faith could move the nearby mountain (Mt. of Olives) into the Sea.
Our study group talked about how challenging it can be to trust God with our mountains – the seemingly impossible things in front of us – and to actually believe that He can move them, as crazy and non-intellectual as that may sound. We agreed that praying in faith is powerful, but not easy.
But as I continued thinking about it later, it occurred to me that Jesus wasn’t necessarily saying that when we ask God to re-locate the mountain in front of us, that He will just pick it up “in one big piece” and drop it elsewhere. For some reason, that is the image that comes to mind.
Sure, He could move the mountain that way, dramatically and fast, or He might do it another way – slowly and incrementally.
For example, maybe the cancer is suddenly and inexplicably gone and the doctors have no explanation for it, or maybe the healing happens over months or years of extended treatment.
Or, maybe the power of that addiction is abruptly and mysteriously broken in a single day, or maybe it happens through a slow and agonizing process of recovery.
Maybe that broken relationship is restored “just like that” and there is forgiveness and peace, or maybe it takes session upon tear-filled session of counseling and support to finally get there.
Maybe one day the anxiety that you’ve been battling just vanishes, or maybe it dissipates slowly, gradually, and stubbornly over time.
Maybe the financial crisis is resolved with a windfall cash gift out of the blue, or maybe it comes with just a daily portion of God’s grace, day after toilsome day, until one day you look up and you’re out of the red and in the black again.
What I wish I would have said in our Bible study is that if you have a mountain of a circumstance in front of you, a seemingly impossible situation that only God can resolve, remember what Jesus said: praying in faith can move mountains.
But don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t happen all at once. It might be that God moves it one scoop at a time. Either way, may the mountain be moved.
It’s a new day with God. Run with it.