It seems that autumn has come to West Texas in its usual fashion – overnight. After months of record breaking heat and more triple digit days than ever recorded, the temperatures suddenly dropped on Sunday as the first cold front of the season moved through bringing with it some much needed rain and cooler temperatures. The change was welcome!
As I stepped out into the pre-dawn light this morning clad in a light jacket, I was greeted by a cool, gentle breeze and overcast skies. I rejoiced at the change. I love these intermediate seasons when the weather seems to continually change as it progresses towards a new season.
Sometimes our lives can be like that too, continually changing as we pass through intermediate seasons and we find ourselves rejoicing at each new day. Other times we seem to plod along endlessly, longing to change course but unable to make much progress towards our desired change. It is as though we are standing still, unable to move at all and we look up to find a giant mountain looms in our path.
Each time I find myself at the foot the mountain I have wondered, “How much faith does it take to move a mountain?” Of course most of us know the scripture in Matthew 17, Christ rebukes His disciples when they question Him as to why they were unable to cast a devil out of a young boy and He tells them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.”
A mustard seed is very tiny, but when facing mountains that involve financial insecurity, time constraints, commitments, relationships, sickness, and a host of other things that stand in our path and block our way that mustard seed of faith suddenly seems like more faith than we could possibly ever possess and we wonder again, “How much faith does it take to move a mountain?”
Then we read the second part of that passage, “Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.” And we abruptly face another obstacle far bigger than the mountain in our way because we realize that perhaps we are asking the wrong question. Maybe we should ask, “How much desire does it take to move a mountain?”
Do we desire to move the mountain enough that we are willing to spend time in prayer and fasting? My heart quakes when I realize how weak my desire is to grasp that mustard seed of faith. I’m willing to pray and maybe even fast, but how quickly I lose heart and I wonder if perhaps it is not that I lack faith to move the mountain, but desire. C.S. Lewis in his sermon called “The Weight of Glory” says, “Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak.”
As we face the mountains that loom in our paths, we ask that you grant us the desires that are in tune with your heart; desires that are strong enough to cause us to stretch out our hand and accept that mustard seed of faith that is needed to move the mountain and do your kingdom work.