Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Moving Mountains

On Sunday, Pastor Piper, beginning a likely 10 year series through the book of John, said that the disciples were skeptics; it took them three years to believe that Jesus was the Christ.  I like that.  Belief based in skepticism.

There is talk in the Bible about moving mountains: if one has enough faith, they can move mountains; in Job, God moves mountains;  in Isaiah, valleys will be lifted and mountains made low; in the future, mountains and islands move. 

I've never seen a mountain move.  I've thought, "Yeah, during creation, the Ice Age, mountains probably moved.  And there are volcanoes that are basically moving mountains."  But I've always struggled with mountain-moving, and similar, references in the Bible.  It's easy to dismiss these as figures of speech.  But I'd much rather believe in a God who can literally move mountains than one that hides behind grand promises of vague realities.

During the Leadville 100 race, I wanted several particular mountains to move.  One song I listened to, Mighty to Save, seemed to taunt me:

Everyone needs compassion
Love that’s never failing
Let mercy fall on me
Everyone needs forgiveness
The kindness of a Saviour
The hope of nations

He can move the mountains
For my God is mighty to save
He is mighty to save
Author of salvation
He rose and conquered the grave
Jesus conquered the grave

For the last two weeks, my wife has spoken only one sentence to me as we lie in bed at night: "Can I read you just a little bit of this?"  She was reading, The Worst Hard Time, by Timothy Egan.  It's a "can't-put-it-down" history of the 1930s American dust bowl and Great Depression.  I've started it and can't stop thinking about it.  From the first pages, I've sat stunned.

What does this have to do with mountain-moving?  
From The Worst Hard Time:
"A Sunday in mid-April 1935 dawned quiet, windless, and bright. In the afternoon, the sky went purple - as if it were sick - and the temperature plunged. People looked northwest and saw a ragged-topped formation on the move, covering the horizon. ... As the black wall approached, car radios clicked off, overwhelmed by the static. Ignitions shorted out. Waves of sand, like ocean water rising over a ship's prow, swept over roads. Cars went into ditches. A train derailed. ...  
That was Black Sunday, April 14, 1935, day of the worst duster of them all. The storm carried twice as much dirt as was dug out of the earth to create the Panama Canal. The canal took seven years to dig; the storm lasted a single afternoon. More than 300,000 tons of Great Plains topsoil was airborne that day."

I was stunned.  This was no figure of speech.  It was a mountain moved.  In modern times. 


nwgdc said...

Wow...kinda puts things in perspective, huh. It sounds like great running literary...time to "iTunes Store" it up!

keith said...

it's kind of funny how a lot of that dust-bowl era stuff is rearing its head again.

Anonymous said...

I have seen mountains moved by faith and I can tell you first hand it is just as awesome to watch as that day in 1935 had to be. Blessings, Whitney

Greg Silsby said...

Thanks for encouraging all of us to have that faith that moves mountains. We all certainly have them in our lives at one time or another.