We have mountains in our lives that seem impossible to overcome, things that we know we can't possibly accomplish on our own. Such as pay off $150,000 debt, lose 260 pounds, write a book.
I've been a participant in accomplishing all three of these. All three seemed insurmountable at the beginning.
I'm definitely not a mountain climber, but I remember going to Estes Park, Colorado. Entering the park, it's difficult to imagine getting to the top of even one of the mountains.
One summer we drove up to the top of one of the larger peaks. I was sure our van would not make it. As a matter of fact it seemed to rebel the higher up the mountain we got.
At the top there was snow and the temperature had dropped around 30 degrees. With the help of our Honda's do-or-die engine, we made it safely. However, without me being a stickler for servicing the van regularly, we might not have made it. If we didn't have proper fluid levels in the engine, gas in the tank and good tires we definitely we not have made it to the top.
In other words, there were things we had to do to make sure our vehicle would carry us to our destination.
Recently we accomplished a feat that felt impossible back in 1999, when we bought our home. We paid off our mortgage. The amount seemed astronomical at the time. How did we do it?
The year we bought the house was the same year a cardiac surgeon told me I had five years to live if I didn't do something about my equally astronomical weight issue. I weighed 430 pounds at the time. I've lost 260 pounds now. How did I do it?
In 2013, I wrote a book. This had been a dream of mine since I was a child watching my mother get lost in books. Even though I was a writer, I just couldn't seem to produce a full-length book. The project seemed overwhelming. Now I've also written two more and two study guides. I'm working on my fourth book, or sixth if you count the study guides. (Check them out here.) How did I do it?
There are three ingredients I see common to moving any overwhelming mountain that seems to hover over us, throwing a black cloud over everything we try to accomplish.
Jesus healed a demon-possessed boy who the parents brought to the disciples to heal. The disciples tried, but nothing happened. When Jesus prayed, though, the boy was healed. To the boy's parents and those who knew him, this was nothing short of a miracle, a mountain-moving feat!
When the disciples asked Jesus why they couldn't do the same, He answered, "Because of your unbelief. For truly I say to you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move. And nothing will be impossible for you."1
This not just saying we believe God has the power to move our mountains, it's a total mindset change. It's more than just knowing the truth will set us free,2 it's applying the experiences we've had with God and believing if we walk in obedience with Him, things in our lives will change. They will transform to the point that when we declare actions to take place, they will happen because we are cooperating with God to make them happen.
There is no time frame for mountain moving. Jesus didn't say to tell the mountain, "Move," and it would move in that very instance. How many years had this boy been sick? Probably all his life. How many years had his parents been believing for a cure, looking for a cure? Probably just as long.
How do I know that? They brought him to the disciples and when they couldn't help they just didn't give up. They went to Jesus. They kept trying. They had said, "We will find something to help our son." They didn't let time stand in their way.
Jesus simply agreed with what the parents had been setting the stage for all of this boy's life. It looked like an instant miracle, but much action had gone on behind the scenes, I'm sure.
They took action. They kept doing everything they knew to help their son. They kept trying. They didn't give up.
I imagine these parents were the ones that fed their son the proper food the nutrition experts of the time had told them to feed him, prayed for him, took him to religious leaders, took him to doctors, built up his system with herbal aids. They tried everything possible to find a cure for their son.
In removing every mountain in my life I had to believe God had the power to direct me in what actions I needed to take to see the issue eradicated. I had to believe that no mountain was too big for God to move by directing a mere mortal like me, even though it might take time.
Most of the time we want miracles to happen right this minute. When I weighed 430 pounds, I wanted to walk through a healing line and have 260 pounds magically fall off of me. I wanted God to gift us with $150,000 to pay off our debt. I wanted God to drop a book into my heart and mind and have it be written in a few days.
I believe all these things can happen. However, I also believe God uses the trials, the huge mountains in our lives to develop our spiritual muscle. Muscle cannot be developed without training, without day-to-day work, without applying resistance to build our strength.
Mountain-moving is hard work. Remember that Jesus lived 30 years developing His spiritual muscle before being thrust into His destiny time on Earth. He went through temptations.
He was under the authority of both his earthly and heavenly fathers. He learned from Joseph, whom God had given Him as a the human trainer. Most of all, He continued to study and wait for the time for it all to come together.
Whatever mountain is looming in your life today, know this: God has the plan to remove it. Part of that plan is to help build spiritual muscle in our lives while we cooperate with Him.
"For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable in all things, holding promise for the present life and also for the life to come."
31 Timothy 4:8
Teresa Shields Parker is a wife, mother, business owner, life group leader, speaker and author of Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds and Stopped Trying to Earn God's Favor and Sweet Grace Study Guide: Practical Steps to Lose Weight and Overcome Sugar Addiction and Sweet Freedom. Get a free chapter of her memoir on her blog at Teresa Shields Parker.com. Connect with her there or on her Facebook page or Twitter.
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