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How to Persevere When Your Mountain Doesn’t Move

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about mountains that don’t move and how to persevere when that happens. Jesus said that his people would be powerful in prayer. He said: Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. (Mark 11.23–24)

Sometimes we just need to persevere to move mountains! I’ve been thinking a lot recently about mountains that don’t move.

There are a couple of mountains that I’ve been leaning into through prayer. One of the worship leaders in our church fell into a coma a few Sundays ago for no apparent reason. A young couple in our church had a baby that requires a heart transplant. As of yet, no donor has been found. A friend of mine from Prayer Group is also in the hospital waiting for a new heart and no donor has been found for him either. On top of that my wife has been battling a mysterious blood disorder since 2009. The doctors are baffled and the treatments are ineffective.

Those are my mountains and as of yet, none of them appear to be moving.

In my darker moments, I wonder what that says about me.

I wonder what it says about our church.

I wonder what it says about prayer.

And I wonder what it says about God.

If Mark 11:23-24 was the only passage of Scripture I had to deal with I think I would despair but I’ve been digging a little deeper and a little wider recently and this is the counsel that I have given to myself. It comes from the Bible and it is for people of faith — people of prayer — people with needs — whose mountains are not moving.

8 Biblical Ways to Persevere With Faith

1. Do not connect the dots to persevere.

As human beings we love to do this — we almost can’t help ourselves. If we see human suffering we want to identify a human cause. Jesus told his disciples not to do that. In John 9:1-3 we read:

As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. (John 9.1–3)

At least three people had been praying for this man for a very long time — and still, he remained blind. His mountain didn’t move an inch. The disciples decided that it must be due either to his sin or the sin of his parents. Jesus rebuked them for connecting those dots.

The world is more complicated than that.

Providence is more complicated than that.

The disciples ought to have known that because that is one of the major points being made in the Book of Job. Job’s three friends assume that his personal suffering must be due to his personal sin. They accuse of doing terrible things:

You have given no water to the weary to drink, and you have withheld bread from the hungry…You have sent widows away empty, and the arms of the fatherless were crushed. (Job 22:7–9 ESV)

You must have done terrible things Job — that’s why you are still suffering.

Their counsel is as simple as their analysis. They tell him to repent of his misdeeds and then the floodgates of heaven will open, his prayers will be answered, his suffering relieved and all will be well once again.

It is a sad thing when so many Evangelicals say exactly what God rebukes these men for saying. Their damnably stupid counsel only added shame to Job’s suffering. When God shows up at the end he doesn’t answer anyone’s questions about why this happened to brother Job, he just explains how wildly complicated and interconnected everything is in this fallen world. He just reminds Job and his friends that he is the only one who can see the whole board and who therefore can be trusted to connect the dots.

So don’t you try to do it.

Don’t look at your friends and loved ones for the reason your prayers are not being answered. And don’t blame yourself. It may be more complicated than just you not having enough faith. Job could have prayed with all the faith in the world and not changed a single thing in his particular trial. It happened because God was doing something that was never explained to Job and that had nothing to do with his sin, faith or fervency.

Sometimes there is no answer available to the human mind.

So do not connect the dots.

But do examine yourself.

Paul Carter
Paul Carter
Paul is the happy husband of Shauna Lee and the proud papa of 5 beautiful children, Madison, Max, Mikayla, Peyton and Noa. He blogs over at The Gospel Coalition Canada and hosts a devotional podcast called Into The Word.

How a Popcorn Kernel Nearly Cost 41-Year-Old Adam Martin His Life

Discover the harrowing story of Adam Martin, a 41-year-old firefighter, whose life-threatening infection from a popcorn kernel stuck in his tooth led to open-heart surgery. Learn about the importance of dental health and timely medical care.

This Hospital Dance Party Between a Baby Cardiac Patient and His Amazing Pediatric Tech Will Melt Your Heart

Prepare to be moved by the incredible story of Blake Sheffer, a baby cardiac patient, and his dedicated pediatric technician who dance together daily in the hospital. Their joyous dance parties bring hope, laughter, and resilience to Blake's recovery journey.

Tinder Couple Who Exchanged Messages for 3 Years Finally Meets on ‘Good Morning America’

Discover the heartwarming story of Josh Avsec and Michelle Arendas, a Tinder couple whose three-year-long message exchange went viral, leading to their first meeting on 'Good Morning America.'