If you pray for rain, you’d better carry an umbrella. No, I didn’t come up with that little nugget, it’s been making the rounds in my homeland for some years now. The point of it is that if you pray for something, your actions ought to confirm that you prayed in faith, that you prayed with expectation, and that you prayed with full assurance that not only did God hear your prayer, but that He will answer it.
It’s one of those feel-good tropes, and although I am not a fan of personal affirmations or mantras, I do enjoy a zesty one-liner that encapsulates a deeper, more profound thought.
But what if you pray for rain, you carry the umbrella, and no rain is forthcoming. What if you stand before the mountain, command it to be lifted and thrown into the sea, and nothing happens? What if you end up being just a guy or gal talking to a mountain as though you belong in a room with lots of padding as to not cause yourself bodily harm?
Maybe it’s just me, but I can recall a handful of things that I prayed for in faith that did not materialize. Yes, some of them were answered with delay, but others never were. I, too, have had my moment of wanting to move a mountain, and that stubborn thing wouldn’t budge.
What do we do then? What do we do when the mountain doesn't move? Do we just give up? Do we sit in the dirt and wait for the end to come? We all have different mountains, different obstacles, different situations in life that seem insurmountable, but Jesus promised that with enough faith, we could overcome them all. If your mountain doesn't move, there are still options to be had.
If a mountain stands before you, you can either go around it, over it or through it if it refuses to do as you command. It may take longer, it may not be as spectacular as watching it throw itself into the sea, but the goal was never to get a book deal, or be on Christian Television talking about how you moved a mountain, the goal was to no longer be hindered by that particular obstacle.
So back to the question: what do we do when the mountain doesn't move?
The first thing is to stop talking about your mountain and start talking to your mountain. We all have that friend, or perhaps we are that friend, that has a laundry list of mountains they want to discuss with us every time we meet. The more you talk about your mountain, the bigger your mountain will become. You will begin to see an anthill as nothing less than Everest itself.
Talking about your mountain to someone else will not make it budge; talking to your mountain, addressing the issue, acknowledging not only its presence but its inability to stop your growth, will.
If you do not speak to your mountain, your mountain will most certainly speak to you, and everything it says will be meant to intimidate you, put fear in your heart, or make it seem like its already won. Be proactive. Speak to your mountain.
One other thing we must acknowledge, and for some, it is a difficult thing to do, is that sometimes God may choose to move you, and leave the mountain where it is. Mountains don’t have feet; you do.
None of us can question Paul’s faith, or deny that there were countless mountains he overcame, yet there was one mountain that would not budge, no matter how hard he tried. Paul’s mountain was called Asia, and though his desire to go and preach the gospel there was noble, although he had faith the likes of which has rarely been seen, every time he tried to overcome this mountain, he could make no headway.
Eventually the Holy Spirit sent him to Greece to do the work to which he had been called, and rather than keep trying to move the mountain that would not budge, he went to reap a harvest of souls in another place.
It’s not that God isn’t able. It’s just that sometimes it may not be His will or perfect plan for your mountain to throw itself into the sea.