I love the mountains.
I love waking up in a dew-drenched tent after a frigid night under the stars and feeling the stiffness of my legs as they stretch and creak like the wood of an old house. I love the shock of crisp mountain air as it surges into my lungs while I desperately try to warm myself up in the dawning sunlight before packing up for the day. I love feeling the tenderness of my shoulders and hips as I strap on my pack for the journey ahead. I love everything about being in the mountains. But, some days, it feels like the mountains don’t really love me back.
These are the days when getting out of my tent seems like the worst idea I’ve ever had; when I wonder if I even have what it takes to carry my pack just one more mile; when I really wish I wasn’t a leader and didn’t have to set an example. These are the days when what I usually love seems more like an insurmountable obstacle than a life-giving adventure.
One of these days occurred while overseas last fall. I was co-leading an outreach team with Youth With a Mission (YWAM), a large international Christian mission organization that trains and sends young missionaries all over the world. Our team was deep in the mountains of Asia working in an extremely remote village with people who had never seen foreigners before. The living conditions were rough, to say the least, and from the time we woke up until we went to bed we were interacting with the local families and trekking to other nearby villages (who had never heard the name of Jesus). It was amazing, but as the week wore on it reminded me of those days back home backpacking in the mountains: When everything in me says, “Stay in your tent;” when I doubt if I have what it takes; when I doubt if God is really with me, and if He really can use what little I have to bring to the table.
It wasn’t until the end of our outreach, as our team trekked through the heart of some of the tallest mountains in the world, that I could reflect back on our time. I remembered how disheartened I felt some of those days, waking up feeling like there was no way that I could do it. But then God reminded me of what He said to His disciples: He told them that if they had just a mustard-seed amount of faith, that mountains could move! And He wasn’t kidding! On those mornings, when my faith was but the size of a mustard seed, God said, “I can use that”. Those were the days that God used me in more miraculous ways than I ever could have imagined. He taught me that when He says, “Ben, you bring a mustard seed, and I’ll move the mountains,” He means it.
Do you want to see how God can make your faith the size of a mustard seed grow?