Sometimes, I find myself standing at the bottom of a mountain, one that either needs to be climbed or moved.
But as I look up the height of the mountain, to the barely visible snow-capped peaks, as I take in its massive heaviness, it seems impossible. I can’t climb it, I can’t move it.
My faith just seems so small for me to step out in faith. Could I really live the impossible? Can I actually do all things through Christ? My faith seems too small for that. My fear seems too big.
Like the father of the boy who was possessed by an evil spirit, I cry out, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24) Like the disciples, I pray, “Increase my faith!” (Luke 17:5)
Maybe you’re crying and praying as well. Maybe you feel like you don’t have enough faith, and that mountain seems unconquerably big.
And when we’re standing at the bottom of the mountain, when we’re facing the hard situation, when our fear is overwhelming, when loneliness is consuming, when decisions to make are unclear, when nothing is going right and everything is going crazy, when a relationship crashes and burns, when another obstacle is put up to living our dream, faith itself can seem impossible.
We can feel embarrassed and ashamed to say we’re struggling with faith. Because when we feel like we don’t have enough faith, we feel like we aren’t good enough, like we’re doing something wrong, and maybe God will just leave us here in the dark shadow of the mountain.
In Matthew 17:14-20 , the disciples tried to cast a demon out of a young boy, but they couldn’t. After Jesus freed the boy from the evil spirit, His disciples asked Him, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”
Jesus answered, “Because you have so little faith.”
That’s probably not the answer the disciples were wanting to hear. It’s probably not the answer we were wanting to hear.
But Jesus doesn’t always answer how we want; He answers with the truth that we need.
Jesus was teaching the disciples that their own ability wasn’t enough. It wasn’t strong enough or powerful enough to do the impossible. They need to trust in Him.
The disciples asked, “Why couldn’t we?” And in a way, Jesus told them, “You couldn’t because you can’t. You need Me.”
Here’s the thing: we can’t. We can’t climb or move the mountain. We can’t overcome temptation. We can’t know what decision to make. We can’t stand under the weight of loneliness or grief or fear or stress. We can’t do the impossible. But God can. And with Him, we can.
We need to remember this. Faith isn’t about our ability, but trusting God’s ability. It is allowing Him to work in our hearts and in our lives, obeying Him as He leads.
Jesus continued to teach His disciples:
A mustard seed is a very small seed, usually only 1 or 2 millimeters in diameter. And even faith as small as mustard seed can move mountains. Because even small faith is faith in a big God.
The thing that I find so encouraging about Jesus comparing faith to a mustard seed is that seeds grow. So can our faith.
Jesus also compared the power of faith to the moving of mountains; something that would be impossible. Even when we think of those metaphorical mountains in our own lives, they are overwhelming. But nothing is impossible with God, and when we place our faith in Him, nothing will be impossible for us.
At the end of July, I went on vacation with my family to Montana. We spent a couple of days at Glacier National Park, hiking through mountains. At one point, my sister and I went to the edge of a mountain where a creek had cut its way through, and the side of the mountain was exposed. As we looked, we saw what the mountain was made of: rock and boulders, all piled on each other and buried in dirt.
As we were taking in the view, my sister observed something insightful. She spoke of that verse in which Jesus said our small faith could move mountains, and she said it made a little more sense seeing that the mountain was made up of all those boulders; how it’s one little act of faith at a time that moves the mountain, boulder by boulder.
Just as big faith grows in small steps, so big mountains are conquered in small steps of faith.
Don’t think you can move the mountain? God can. Just look for the boulders He’s calling you to move; worries that need to be cast upon Him, spiritual disciplines you need to make time for, negative thoughts that need to be taken captive, forgiveness that needs to be given, jealousy that needs to be uprooted, distractions that need to be gotten rid of.
Don’t listen to the whispers that say you can’t, that tell you your faith is too small. In Jesus you can, and faith placed in Jesus is enough. So take that mustard seed faith and plant it in Him. Water it by spending time with Him in prayer and in His Word. See your faith grow, and be amazed as God does the impossible in you, and through you.