A metaphor that can create a lot of questions as Jesus pronounces an impossible task yet has many positive antidotes making us think about his deeper intentions. Move a mountain without faith the size of a mustard seed? Let’s look for a moment at the hidden possibilities this creates. Ask yourself how many mountains exist in your own life? What does a mountain look like when every moment you are confronted by obstacles that seem to bury any positive direction and a fear of not seeing a way around it?
To many people the thought of actually praying and expecting an impossible outcome can become a crisis and giving up is an answer that creates an immediate response. Most of us do not savor problems as soon as they appear. It isn’t a challenge that just confronts our intellect, and stares at us waiting for us to pick it by the horns and throw it out of our presence. Instead it opens the tenacity to search for a way around negative obstructions and says “I can.”
Look at some of the mountains that faced characters in some of Jesus' parables. The prodigal son was one when he could only share food with the hogs. Going back after being humbled through his mistake of trying it on his own and wasting all of his inheritance. This son confronted the mountain of shame his foolishness created. (Lk. 15: 11 ff).
The man who buried the money his master entrusted him to invest or earn more. Upon his master’s return there was no forgiveness and he shamefully was thrown out. He never sought a way to circumvent the mountain of selfishness and remained an outcast. (Mt. 25: 14 - 30)
A man of wealth who never noticed or cared about the beggar who sat at his doorstep seeking even a morsel of food ended in hell and wished that Abraham would send this poor child of God who rested in Abraham’s bosom to dip his finger in water to quench his thirst. The irony that he had to step around Lazarus as he walked in plenty while the beggar had nothing. His mountain wasn't one to avoid since it represented all his treasures and remained a stumbling block unknown to him. His wealth blinded him to care for the poor. Sometimes it is easy to allow the mountain that appears too big to climb, excuses its massive signs of selfishness and corrupts our sense of compassion. (Lk. 16: 19 ff)
Jesus was aware of the obstacles we would face in our walk of faith, and this analogy fits the very wall that we will confront to follow him.
Ralph B. Hathaway, Confronting our mountain of doubt.