By Lynn Metier
As we move along in our Christian "walk", it is not unusual to encounter mountains. Some winters we've been forced to deal with mountains of snow in the physical realm, and many have learned the lesson that moving these mountains takes much time and effort, if done in our own strength. (Not only that, but they frequently re-materialize!) Perhaps you have encountered other mountains in your life - recurring patterns of difficulties in financial matters, or health issues, or struggles with emotions, such as anger or fear, or vexing relationships, etc. No matter how many times you seem to finally get on top, you suddenly realize you're facing another mountain. It can get discouraging, even overwhelming, but that most certainly is not God's intent in allowing us to encounter what often seem to be insurmountable obstacles. Just as the Old Testament accounts of the lives and struggles of God's people are picture stories of the Kingly teachings and heavenly principles found in the New Testament, so too these "mountains" of adversity and difficulty are tangible lessons in our temporal world that reflect spiritual realities our Lord would have us discern. Think of the reflection of a mountain in a lake. So too our experiences in the physical realm of this life can be merely reflections of spiritual struggles and obstacles, which are actually more "real" because they are the causes of the reflections. Often, however, we become so focused on the reflection that we fail to see the causative mountain looming overhead.
So, what are we to do if we keep stumbling along, yet often find ourselves wearied and discouraged by the frequent struggles and seeming lack of progress? In the epistle of James 1:2-4, we're told: "Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." In other words, we need to realize that the mountains exist for our benefit, and rejoice in that fact. Is that really possible? Not in our own strength, any more than we could physically move Mt. McKinley! So just how do we deal with these mountains of adversity? The Bible gives us three ways. In Mark 11:22,23, Jesus says: "Have faith in God. Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, 'Be taken up and cast into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it shall be granted him.” Faith moves mountains, but only if it is an active FAITH (that confronts the "mountain") IN GOD. (Consider the fall of Jericho before the Israelites in Joshua chapter 6.) Secondly, in Luke 3:5,6, John the Baptist quotes the Old Testament prophet Isaiah (40:4,5) as saying: "Every ravine shall be filled up, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall become straight, and the rough roads smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God." We should be encouraged by the fact that there are no obstacles God cannot overcome to accomplish His purposes. (Remember the parting of the Red Sea in Exodus 14?) What is our part in this? "This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel saying, 'Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,' says the Lord of hosts. 'What are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become a plain; and he will bring forth the top stone with shouts of "Grace, grace to it!" ' " It is God's mighty SPIRIT and wondrous GRACE that levels mountains!
But experience and God's Word teach us that God does not always remove the difficulties in our lives. What then? Surely God does not intend for us to be buried by an avalanche, crushed by the mountain! As always God's word gives us the answer: "But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." (Isaiah 40:31) Mountains are not a problem to those with eagles' wings! Rather, they are places of refuge and safety.
Through His word, our God instructs and encourages us to exercise faith in Him, and receive His Spirit, grace, and strength to give us victory over all the "mountains" in our lives.