I still remember how fascinated I was the day my Mother talked to me about faith that could move mountains. She who knew all things, believed all things, hoped all things, endured all things – my mom – told me that if one had enough faith, one could say to the mountain, “Be thou moved, and it will be moved.”
I was about seven years old at the time and that was pretty impressive stuff but coming from my Mother it was not to be doubted. Not for one brief moment.
But there were a few hitches. To start with there was a lot of stuff about readiness to give such a command. You know, stuff like faith. Not superficial faith, but real deep-seated-without-a-doubt faith. And of course one had to be humble. And one had to love God more than life itself. Oh, and that faith, had to be so good that you were praising God for moving the mountain before he moved it.
So I totally geared up for all that. Broke no commandments for over a week. Stole no cookies. Was excessively kind. Prayed without ceasing. Chanted faith into my mind to sink it deeply and solidly into my being. Then I looked out on the landscape at the big hill far away on the horizon and said to God, “I want that mountain moved. Please move it.”
It didn’t move. A few days later I said to my Mother, “That hill over there. I asked God to move it. I believed he would move it, but he didn’t.”
Then came the excuses that always come when people want to believe there is no conflict in their convictions, and no falsehoods in their beliefs.
To my dismay this is why God did not move the mountain according to my Mother. I lacked sufficient faith. It was my desire, but perhaps God saw no purpose in it. Oh yes, I almost forgot. There is a time factor when you pray for something. God answers prayer but in his own way, in his own time. And if my longing to move the mountain stemmed from a sense of power or pride, it of course would not happen.
But it should have happened. I was humble, seeking, contrite, prayerful, and exercising faith that I had never had before or have ever had since. And that mountain did not even tremble.
Anyway, children being what children are, the attempt to move that mountain was a radical disappointment and truly puzzling.
I eventually forgot about it, dismissed the situation as no fault on God’s side. Obviously, some flaw in myself caused the request to fail even though all my intensive internal inspection revealed nothing more that I could do. Which only furthered my confusion because I had also begged during my readiness period for forgiveness for any impure thoughts or unkind acts that I might have committed unwittingly.
Now when I was a child I lived way in the North Country of this area and the mountain, or rather very large hill I commanded to move was visible at a great distance from our home. I now live in the Far Western Part of this area, a goodly distance from my childhood home. This is flat country, there are no grand hills here.
Now yesterday, late afternoon, I was out on my deck and I looked out across the landscape, and you’ll never guess what I saw. My mountain had been moved. It was across the field looming on the landscape in my back yard. I examined it closely. Yes, this is the same hill. It has the same contours, the same shadows, the same shape, and boundaries.
Mother had said God would pick his own time. Who would have ever thought it would be some fifty years later? But I needed a miracle today and I got one. The mountain I commanded to move so long ago, was moved.
Hub and I woke up a bit dismal the other day. We laugh today, we laughed yesterday. My neighbour laughed as well. We laugh, we find joy, because the mountain did move. It absolutely did. And just in case you don’t believe me, here is the proof. See it for yourselves.
This is the usual appearance of the landscape from my deck.
And this...is my mountain -- the one I commanded to be moved!