August 7, 2021- Moving Mountains - A Reflection on Matthew 17:14-20

A man came up to Jesus, knelt down before him, and said, "Lord, have pity on my son, who is a lunatic and suffers severely; often he falls into fire, and often into water. I brought him to your disciples, but they could not cure him." Jesus said in reply, "O faithless and perverse generation, how long will I be with you? How long will I endure you? Bring the boy here to me." Jesus rebuked him and the demon came out of him, and from that hour the boy was cured. Then the disciples approached Jesus in private and said, "Why could we not drive it out?" He said to them, "Because of your little faith. Amen, I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."

Over the past several years I have prayed for countless people who were sick. Many of them have been healed. But many have not been healed. I used to wonder why, trying to use the scientific method to determine patterns and formulate theories, but ultimately I discovered it all comes down to faith: something that seems to be so very complex, yet, when properly understood is extremely simple. Consider this story. 

There is a man whose son is unwell, and although he shows symptoms of epilepsy, we known from what follows that he is actually afflicted by a demon. The father takes his son to the disciples, perhaps because Jesus couldn’t be found. Besides they, too, have been working miracles. But they could do nothing. Why? They didn’t fail because they didn’t know what to do.  A little earlier, we find Jesus sending them to go “cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons” (Matthew 10:8). 

When they returned, they reported that they had done these things so dealing with demons was nothing something they were unfamiliar with. So again, why? Because they didn’t have faith? Oh, no, they had faith. The problem was that they didn’t have enough of it.  When the demon put up resistance, they first became dismayed, then discouraged. Then doubt set in.  A hostile audience began taunting them and instead of continuing to pray and cast the demon out, they entered into an unproductive debate. 

Doubt is the devil’s greatest weapon. We can do great things when we have faith, but the moment we doubt we become powerless. The apostles had prior experience of this. When they were caught in a storm and were afraid, Jesus rebuked them saying, “Why are you afraid, you of little faith?” (Matthew 8:26). Then, again, when Peter sank in the water that moments ago he had been walking on, Jesus asked him: “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:31). 

Why do WE doubt? For the same reasons the apostles did. When things are going well, our faith is strong and we have no difficulty in praising God. The moment we face a storm in our lives, or a challenge that tests us, we get overwhelmed with fear and doubt. Not only do we forget how good and great our God is, we also forget that he is with us. If we can remember that in times when the going gets tough, we will be able to say to the mountain, “Move from here to there!”, and the mountain will move.

May you move mountains in your lives.