I grew up believing in God and experiencing God's blessings.
Then when I became a mother, God suddenly felt very far away. Both of my boys, born two years apart, received various diagnoses, that kept me busy running to non-stop specialists, speech therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy appointments. I did lots of research, figuring out strategies and tools and supplements that might help my boys. I prayed often for their healing. For wisdom about what to do to help my boys. And I only experienced God's silence.
I struggled with anxiety and depression and prayed desperately for God to remove them. He didn't--at least not right away and not in the way I expected. I experienced a crisis of faith in which I wavered between wondering if God was good, to clinging to Him in desperation, and scariest of all, to wondering if He even existed.
It’s easy for many Christians (myself included!) to live what is known as the prosperity Gospel—the belief that because we love God, He will bless us and we will have good and easy lives. In fact, I had this mindset for a while, which is why I got mad at God when both of my boys had special needs and I expected Him to miraculously heal them, or at a minimum, to heal me of my anxiety and depression.
I believe the reason for this mindset comes from the verse “I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours” (Mark 11:24).
It also comes from the verse Jesus said: “Have faith in God. 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” (Mark 11:22–23)
We long to see mountains move, we believe they can me moved, and we ask fervently for them to be moved, and then we get disappointed and discouraged or angry because they don’t.
But, there’s two verses we have to keep in mind. Jesus tells us we will experience suffering. But we also will experience victory: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (John 16:33).
The other verse to keep in mind is “If we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. ” (1 John 5:14, emphasis mine). God’s not a genie that will grant us whatever we want. Imagine what this world would be like if He did that.
He will answer the prayers that align with His will. And the best way to know what is within His will is to read His Word and pray for His will to be done.
Jesus pleaded with God "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done." (Luke 22:42). Imagine where we'd be if God had granted Jesus His prayer.
Paul is another example. He prayed for 'a thorn in his flesh' to be removed three times. And God told him no. And instead of getting angry about it like I did, Paul said he would 'boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me," (2 Corinthians 12:7-9).
When you look at all your favorite Bible heroes, you'll see they experienced their share of mountains and challenges and grief. But they persevered in prayer and trusted God, and that's what makes them our Bible heroes.
Sometimes the mountain that moves isn’t the one we were praying for, but the one that was lodged in our heart.
I realized that though I wanted my boys to be healed, what I wanted more was to trust God and experience more of Him and what He had for me. And when I had that perspective, He showed up. Instead of healing my boys with just a word like I believed He could have done, He instead began speaking words of truth to me about faith and prayer and special needs parenting. Then I began writing what I was learning to encourage others. I would have never imagined I’d write a book about faith and special needs parenting. I wouldn’t if God had simply answered my desperate prayers to heal my boys. Instead, He answered my surrendered prayers in ways I could have never imagined (Ephesians 3:20). He helped me surrender my mountains of anger and unmet expecations which freed me to embrace God's love and plan for me and my family.
I share that story not to brag about myself, but to share about God’s goodness, and what He can do when we pray according to His will and allow Him to move the mountains He wants to move.
What mountain do you think God is wanting to move in your heart?