Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Mountains and Mulberries

If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, "Be uprooted and planted in the sea," and it will obey you. Luke 17:6

The Master of Prayer encouraged small-faith disciples to go lumber jacking after big targets. Mountains and mulberry trees seem not to have much in common, but Jesus used both examples when he taught believers that a command in his name would force even fruit trees and mountains to take flying leaps.

Was Jesus teaching a lesson about physical displacement? Was he assuring his listeners that hard-core mountains are conquerable? Did their stubborn toehold in the earth have a correlation to his lesson? In this teaching-moment, Jesus emphasizes always turning to God.

Jesus inspired his followers to expect results from bringing flecks of faith to God's creative palm. When confronted with this teaching, I wonder when I last boldly requested something, totally believing God would answer. When have I asked for something earthshaking, beyond my imagination?

Hindrances to my prayers happen daily, and I am the biggest obstacle. One downfall to my prayer life is focusing only on what my physical eyes see. I see my pinochle bank account. I see the effects of cancer in Lizzie. I see Jerry held captive in a debilitating sin. Physical sight blocks my Son-sight.

Another way I hinder prayer is by presenting God with solutions from my imagination. I dream up ways for him to "work" things out. That's when a leafy tree reminds me of Jesus' "mountain and mulberry" words.

A mulberry tree stands guard outside my breakfast-room window. In the spring, the tree is a flurry of leaves and feathers. As the berries ripen, I watch crows forage and blue jays dart in for fast food. On the windowsill, I prop up an index card that reminds me of Jesus' challenge-words, "You can say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted.'"

I love that in his teaching, Jesus drew graphic word-pictures for us, and when he gave imperative commands waters and winds obeyed. There's never been a reason for me to say to my fruit tree, "Get out of my yard! Go! Plant yourself in the Gulf of Mexico." However, because of Jesus—full of grace and truth—I trust that my faith-seeds are mega-sized in the hand of God.

The next time I see a clump of hills, I will remember they could hike up their grassy skirts, yank up roots, and walk off. I will remember my mulberry tree could wiggle out of the soil and settle into salt water.

I will remember.

Father, I still struggle with feeble faith, but I thank you for hearing my timid voice and working wonders to your glory. I lift my eyes to the hills and thank you for the visual aid Son of Man. In his name. Amen.

Excerpt from The Stained Glass Pickup: Glimpses of God's Uncommon Wisdom. Used by permission of Leafwood Publishers. www.LeafwoodPublishers.com 

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