if you have faith..say to this mountain move…and it will move.”
In American history, the land that's today our western states was called the Oregon Territory. Both the United States and England claimed ownership so agreed that whichever had the most settlers there would rightfully possess it. And so it began; ordinary Americans with a dream packed up their families and belongings in covered wagons and headed west. They came from all walks of life but had one thing in common; they all believed in a better future -their own promised land.
Covering thousands of miles, the journey was fraught with danger across landscapes difficult to traverse. I’ve often wondered, when hiking in the mountains, what it must have been like for them. After weeks crossing flat prairies, they were greeted by the intimidating sight of the great Rocky Mountains- a moutain range stretching 3,000 miles across, 300 miles wide with heights over 14,000 feet. It's hard to fathom the struggles they must have encountered crossing those rugged peaks. As terrifying as it must have been their faith wasn’t shaken. They pressed on to the other side and settled in their promised land.
Our lives, too, can be filled with trouble amidst complex terrain. The path may be smooth and level only to take us by surprise with a mountain around the bend. It may be a single peak- a lost job, a secret betrayed or a minor accident. Or when the diagnosis is cancer, our spouse leaves us for another or our child is severly injured we find ourselves facing a mountain range as high and vast as the great Rockies.
There are four key lessons from the early pioneer's experiences we can apply to help us sucessfully navigate the mountains of our lives.
- Take it Step by Step - No matter how big the mountain tackle it one step at a time. You may not be able to run a marathon but you can cover the same distance by taking one step today and a few more tomorrow. Today's one step may be all that you can handle; that's okay just don't stop moving forward.
Does He not see my ways and count my every step?
- Follow the Path - To cross the Rockies, the pioneers used a mountain pass that earlier scouts had safely traversed. Whatever your mountain, you're not the first to face it. Follow the path of those who've gone before. The Bible is full of examples of the faithful navigating their peaks. Study and learn from their example.
I guide you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths.
- Don’t Travel Alone- The inherent dangers of traveling alone were well understood by early settlers. At night or any sign of danger they'd circle the wagons for protection. God designed us to be in relationship with Him and with others not to travel alone. Solomon, in his wisdom, teaches us why in Ecclesiastes 4:9-12; together we lift each other up when we fall, we provide comfort when the night is cold and only together are we certain to withstand the attacks of the enemy.
The Lord God said, "It is not good for man to be alone.."
- Never Lose Faith- When faced with the massive expanse of the great Rocky Mountains the pioneers may have been intimidated but they did not lose their faith. They knew they would make it across. You already know the end of the story. Until you're with your Father in heaven rest assured no matter how overwhelming this may seem it's not the end. Don't focus on how big you think your mountain is; focus instead on how big you know God to be.
Jesus looked at them intently and said, "Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible."
Message for the journey:
Your present difficulty is not your promised destination. Don’t let your mountains move your faith. Instead, be it all at once or one stone at a time, let your faith move your mountain.
© Ann Wilds 2011
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