Sunday, February 12, 2012

Moving Mountains

 "...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. Matt. 17:20

Every summer I begin seeking the Lord as to what the theme should be for our (girl's) youth winter retreat, and God always leads me to something He is working on in my own life in a big way.  Last July I was spending some time in the same mountains pictured here while going through a deeply humbling experience.  My regular Bible reading led me to the lives of Joshua and Caleb.  It was then I knew with certainty that Moving Mountains would be our theme.

I've been facing a few of my own personal mountains and realize there are no shortcuts.  I must be convinced of what God has said, and look not just to conquering the mountains, but to love--building relationships, which for me is often a mountain in itself.  It doesn't come natural to me, this socializing, making things fun, and just being a good friend.

I tend to see a teaching opportunity in everything around me, and sometimes my children tire of yet another nugget of truth from life's everyday happenings.  One of my daughters recently groaned, "Mom, do you have to make a lesson out of everything?"  And she's right, I don't.  I simply need to love.  For of what value is moving mountains if I don't have love and compassion for other people?  I am nothing.  (1 Cor. 13:2)

Last spring Colorado had rain . . . lots of it, even flood waters. As I watched those waters rise I thought of how the generosity of God cannot be stopped. It is a powerful force flowing into our lives, always constant.  He opens His hand and satisfies the desires of every living thing. (Psa. 145:16) He spills over our boundaries, our limitations, and sufficiently supplies our every need. And that was the defining factor of my life over the past year . . . and the theme from last year's winter retreat.

But Moving Mountains seems to be the reality God wants me to get a hold of in my life this year. As He is leading me into a deeper faith, a deeper trust in His ability to accomplish in me, that which I am incapable of doing, I see how mountains looming before me can be moved.

I thought I would have a success story by this time to share with the group. But God's timetable is not my own. He asks me to wait and simply trust. This snow, so beautiful, reminds me of the wait.  Where do the rushing waters come from in the spring, but from these very mountains?  Storehouses of snow, building and building with each snow fall.  Still.  Silent.  Peaceful.  Until at just the right time they unleash their rivers when kissed by the sun.  I have not yet conquered this mountain in its completeness, but do know God in a deeper and fuller way in the midst of it. And is that not ultimately the goal? To know Him in my experience?

So often I resist, resist, resist.  There is a time to stop fussing and simply embrace the hardship . . . rest in it.  I think of this every time I watch The Passion, a movie of Christ's suffering before the cross. With all that pain, at last the cross is placed on his shoulders and Jesus accepts it.  At this point in the movie, such a heaviness has come over the viewer from the intense agony, that it's with great relief when Jesus at last takes up the cross to be crucified.  I have to wonder if that is not the way He might have actually felt. Hebrews 12:2 tells us that Jesus obediently went to the cross because of the joy set before him. Think of it!  Joy!  Joy in the midst of such pain.  Jesus did not resist the cross, but rather accepted it.  But what courage it took to accept it.

Instead of running from my giants in fear, I am to seek them out, pursue them, stand my ground, and fight . . . like Caleb.  "Give me the hill country," he said, "Bring it on!  The place where giants dwell? That's where I wanna go."  And I am fascinated with Caleb's daughter, that she was so bold to ask for her own land, but then she wanted even more.  For what good is gaining ground if there are not springs of water running through it?  What good is conquering mountains, if the Spirit of God does not flow through us in love? No, she wanted not just the hill country, but the springs as well. (Josh.15:13-19)

But I often find myself paralyzed with fear or despondency.  I cannot overcome these mountains, these giants in the land on my own.  Exasperated, I sink into his wings and it is then that He carries me. His strength lifts me in my weakness.  But so often he has to stir up my life a bit, "stir up the nest" as Andrew Murray puts it so well in his book, Waiting on God, to get me to the point of exasperation so that he can indeed be strong in my weakness.  He has to get me to the place where I am keenly aware of my weakness . . .where my pride is broken and I come weeping to His strength.

Brick walls will be overcome if my faith will be kept in the One who is able and not my own feeble abilities.  And so I cling to His promises, His Word, just as a vine would cling to a wall.  Surely He will bring it to pass.  These mountains will be moved.

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