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Mountain-Moving Faith

By Judy Lorenzen

Being human and living in time, so many situations look impossible: the person who cannot stop drinking alcohol, the person who cannot stop taking pain killers or stimulants, the person who cannot stop overeating, the person who cannot stop abusing the child, the person who cannot stop the inappropriate relationship, the siblings who cannot stop hating each other over the dividing of an inheritance. These are impossible situations that people need more than any human or human service offers. If God doesn’t intervene, the drinker may die passed out at the wheel of a car, the drug addict of an overdose, and the siblings may carry their hatred to the grave and pass it on to the future generations. I’ve seen enough of these situations and prayed for the people involved and said to the Lord, “Are You sure nothing is too hard for You? Are You sure her getting sober isn’t impossible?” Sometimes, there seemingly are no answers.         

Yet, in the Old Testament (OT), the Lord says, “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh; is there anything too hard for Me?” (Jeremiah 32:27), and in the New Testament (NT), in Mark 9:23, the reader finds Jesus saying, “‘If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.’” In OT times, God proves nothing is too hard for Him by creating the world, Sarah having a baby at 99, and in many other ways. Likewise, Jesus proves in the NT that nothing is impossible many times, from multiplying the two little fish and five loaves to feed five thousand people (Matthew 14:13-21) to raising Lazarus from the dead (John 11:1-44).         

Then, Jesus teaches a truth that makes many devout believers ask how it is possible: “For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says’” (Mark 11:23). Many people who know the Bible is true have still pondered this verse and want that faith that moves mountains.         

Having an older sister who was severely disabled and lay in a bed and suffered her whole life, that verse gave my heart such hope as a young child. The first time I ever heard the verse, I prayed and prayed that God would physically heal my sister, and I believed He would. When she died at the age of twenty-one, I thought maybe God just meant that her death was her healing. Yet, I still thought often of this promise from Jesus.         

Years later, when I saw my father, who never really claimed any faith and poked fun at my mother for her great faith, start believing in Christ, I thought that verse was to be taken spiritually. I had seen a mountain of unbelief moved right out of my father’s heart. I was amazed and grateful. 

However, in my heart, I knew that here on earth we are the ones with limited understanding, and there was more to that verse, so I kept asking the Lord to show me what He meant. One day, quite by accident when I was revisiting one of my older books, I came upon an essay, “The Passing of the Impossible,” by F. W. Boreham.         

Boreham (1871-1959), a Baptist pastor in Tasmania, Australia, who had a tremendous love for Christ, His Word, and the splendor of the mountains, longed to understand this verse, too. As he looked at the grandeur of the mountains every day, he began to pray and ask the Lord to show him how it is possible to move mountains by faith, and he went on to tell the most wonderful story. As he started off, he talked of how all these wonderful inventions we have, like airplanes, first started off as ideas, and the inventors were told that their ideas were impossible.         

In Tasmania, the beautiful mountain that Boreham daily gazed at was Mount Lyell, named after Charles Lyell, the lawyer whose fierce persuasion of his belief in uniformitarianism impacted Darwin and established the field of geology, and replaced the teaching of Creationism. Boreham tells how one day “a strange faith stole into the hearts of men,”[1] faith that underneath Mount Lyell was copper—lots of it. The pastor tells how first the men suspected it, then investigated it, then really believed it, and when they really believed, Boreham said these men said to that mountain, “Remove hence into yonder place!”[2] And the mountain moved. They got shovels, began to dig, and moved the mountain. Nothing was impossible for these men, and even better, Boreham got to watch their faith move that huge mountain.         

In his wisdom and enthusiasm, Boreham points out that historically, this is a very possible world; its people, problems, and tasks are all possible—even the most difficult.[3] Boreham says, “That dark nightmares always paralyses [sic]. Great achievers were ever great believers. And great believers were ever prodigious workers. Let them but believe, though it be only in copper, and they will move mountains.”[4] I imagine that he heard, “Well done,” when he entered eternity.         

When we think about the possibilities of this world even being here and we think about how truly limited we are in our understanding of this world in all aspects, we realize it is we who limit God and His Word. I will never forget a Corrie Ten Boom quote I heard once: “Faith sees the invisible, believes the unbelievable, and receives the impossible.” Ephesians 3:20 says, “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us…” That is the faith that believes the unbelievable and moves mountains—that resurrection power, the Holy Spirit, that is in all of us who believe, or as Boreham said, who “really” believe. I want it said of me, “She had faith that moved mountains because she really believed in God and His Word.”


[1] Boreham, F. W. Mountains in the Mist (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1995), 44.
[2] Ibid.
[3] Ibid.
[4] Ibid.

Judy Lorenzen is a poet, writer, and teaching artist. She holds an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Nebraska at Kearney and a PhD in Rhetoric and Composition from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Her publications include Kosmeo, Jama’s Alphabet SoupBlue Lake ReviewVerse-VirtualNorth Dakota Quarterly, Your Daily Poem, Super Poetry Highway, Front Porch Review, The Orchards Poetry Journal, and Autumn Sky Poetry Daily, among others. She has poems forth coming in Blue Heron Review and Silver Birch Press. You can find her on her website, and on X at @judy_lorenzen.


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