“I tell you the truth, 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.”
~Matthew 17:20 (NIV).
Many people are routinely twisted up in theological wreckages over Scripture verses like this one. Jesus is merely using a rank hyperbole to demonstrate a principle that’s so real to life it beckons our utmost attention. He’s merely using a literary device he always used in the vocal sense; indeed hyperbole is used throughout the Bible and actually in all cultures.
But, here’s the principle...
I see this miracle occurring in my world, all around me, all the time. Whenever people are found relying on a God-filled hope they achieve little and large things that beforehand were considered improbable to impossible—when essentially no one would back them.
Seeing miracles is an everyday fact for those with eyes to see and ears to hear.
The Real Focus on Impossibility
Jesus is not interested in debating little points of technicality. He certainly doesn’t want us to either. Jesus hated the technocrat tactics of the religious legalists and scribes. Technicalities miss the point—the wood is not seen for the trees. Technicalities get us nowhere near the realisation of impossibilities.
Instead, Jesus has for us this gorgeous faith-reality that smiles humbly and faithfully at the jaws of impossibility and goes about what it can anyway!
In this is raw focus. When we set our eyes on the Lord (Hebrews 12:2) and go to enth length to abide in him (John 15:7) we find we can do all things. Moving mountains, I’d suggest, are never an interest for us (for what would be the point?), but equivalent challenges exist, and in the Spirit that is hidden in us (Colossians 3:3), we will conquer them by God’s will if we’re patient beyond the encroaching fear of the world.
Conquering the Fear of the World
This really is an easy thing; it only seems hard. We make it hard, or at least harder than it should be.
When something impossible comes against us our faith is put to the instant test.
What is our attitude? Is it shrinking—paralysing us to the odds—or does it go against the flow of the worldly pressures on us and become pleasant? Enjoying the difficulties is not hard. It is just a decision.
Faith and Madness
This might actually seem like madness. Of course, we’d think this way because it’s so foreign to us. Can I suggest that many of the ‘impossible’ feats of human achievement have taken place in just this faith-suggested mindset—the belief that this thing or that thing could be done, despite the odds, attitudes, knockers and actual constraints.
Fumbling is Okay
It is okay to fumble and fail our way through impossibilities, ignoring the critics—even those in our own minds, provided we do so patiently and cheerfully.
Faith like this is practical. It’s acceding to the will of God to truly rely on him—the all-conquering Spirit. And we will win. It is already won.
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.