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In the Holy Gospel according to Matthew (Mt 17:14-23), the disciples of the Lord couldn’t help a young boy that had epileptic seizures. They ask Jesus why they couldn’t help and He gives this explanation:
“Because of your little faith. For truly I say to you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move hence to yonder place,’ and it will move!” So, if I grow in my faith, I could say to Pikes Peak: “Move!” and it will have to move. Pikes’ Peak in a mountain over 14,000 feet in elevation that is just west of Colorado Springs. As I pondered this great display of my faith, I began to realize the consequences of my actions.
If Pikes Peak moved east, it could literally destroy the city below and most of the people that live there. I would likely be arrested and spend the rest of my life in prison. If it moved west, it would go viral on the internet. I would become famous, have my own tv show, and become very wealthy. What a spiritual collapse that would be for my life. I came to the conclusion that I do not want to grow my faith to move literal mountains. It would come to no good for me or others. Could Jesus have been speaking of a “mountain” in a different sense?
The little boy in that Gospel reading had a “mountain” in his life. The epilepsy and a demon were a “Pikes Peak”, that needed to be moved. The dad and the disciples could not move that mountain, but Jesus did. All of us seem to struggle with “mountains” in our lives at various times. Sometimes the Lord moves that mountain out of our lives and sometimes He uses others to move it. It might be a doctor, a priest, or perhaps it might be you. As we look around us at our family and friends, chances are we recognize various sized mountains that people are struggling with: Getting older, illness, depression, sadness, anxiety, loneliness, fear, etc.
Helping to move these mountains in people’s lives is a greater and better work than moving a literal mountain. Some might say: “But I don’t even have enough faith to move the mountain in my own life let alone help move someone else’s mountain.” Jesus gives us the solution: “Prayer and Fasting!” As Orthodox, we fast on Wednesdays and Fridays most weeks. We also have fasting times like the Nativity Fast and Great Lent. My suggestion here is to dedicate a fasting time to praying that the Lord would move the mountain in your life and that He would use you to help move the mountain in other people’s lives.
Before you blow off this suggestion, please try it and see what happens. Two men I knew in prison had lost all contact with the outside world. Their family and friends had abandoned them many, many years ago and they received no mail. Following my suggestion, they dedicated the fast of Great Lent to praying about this. Half-way through Great Lent, both of them received unexpected letters that moved the mountain of loneliness right out of their lives. They were huge believers in the fast of Great Lent from that time on. Once you have experienced the same, you (like these two men) can suggest that others try this to move the mountains in their lives.
We can also help move those mountains in others by reaching out to them in love. Many of our mountains begin to move when we come into contact with someone who cares enough to love us.
P.S. We may find some mountains that simply cannot be moved in someone’s life (a terminal illness for example), but we can hold hands with them and climb that mountain together. It is amazing how the mountain looks when we are on top of it. In fact, we no longer see the mountain, but our vision goes so much further.