How much does a mountain weigh? I googled this question today and discovered that, although the question has been asked, few sites provide any real answers. Let’s face it, it’s a lot, and there’s more arithmetic to obtaining the answer than I really care to apply. I did find a page from Fernbank Science Center in Atlanta, Georgia that claimed nearby Stone Mountain weighs 1,176,000,000 pounds…and it’s a small mountain.
Why am I asking this? Because the Bible tells us faith can move mountains.
He [Jesus] replied, “Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, 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 17:20-21
I’ve struggled over this verse for years. How can I move a mountain? Yet Christ tells us it only takes a tiny amount of faith to do so. This struck home in the last few months as I sought comfort in prayer for my mother. She fell two months ago and has severe damage to two lobes of her brain. Recovery is slow, and we don’t know to what extent she will recover. Prior to her fall, Mom was a fully independent eighty-one year old woman who passed for much younger than that. To see her struck down devastated our family.
Around 4 am one morning, I found myself awake and struggling with this change in Mom’s life. I prayed to God to heal her like I’d done every night, but this verse in Matthew kept running through my mind. How can I move the mountain when I have doubts?
Then it occurred to me, I didn’t doubt God’s ability to heal her. I knew He could do that. Rather than focusing on the if, I told him I knew he could heal her and boldly told him I wanted him to do so. This verse that confounded me for years suddenly held a different meaning. I had focused on the wrong aspect of faith in my earlier interpretations. I needed faith in His ability to heal her and to express that in my prayers.
Wow! What a relief! With this new understanding, I found I no longer doubted that He would heal her.
Mom is in rehab now, making slow progress. The signs of progress are miniscule, like that mustard seed in Matthew 17, but they exist for those who watch and wait.
But I’m not perfect. I don’t approach every day with that same strength of belief found in the middle of the night. When the signs of improvement hide from my searching eyes, I leave the nursing home downhearted. And so, I finally gained an understanding of another verse that has confused me for years:
Lord I believe, help my unbelief. Mark 9:24
Maybe next time, we’ll talk about that one.