Faith Can Move Mountains!
THE crowd was in suspense. A father had just brought his epileptic son to men considered capable of curing him. Eagerly, a cure was awaited. But nothing happened! Disappointed, the father turned away.
At that moment four other men appeared and among them their leader, Jesus of Nazareth. Running toward him, the father pleaded: “Have mercy on my son, because he is an epileptic and is ill, for he falls often into the fire and often into the water; and I brought him to your disciples, but they could not cure him.”
“Bring him here to me,” said Jesus. The result? “Then Jesus rebuked it, and the demon came out of him; and the boy was cured from that hour.” Yes, another miracle! But why had Jesus’ disciples failed?
Jesus explained why, saying: “Because of your little faith.” Then he continued: “If you have faith the size of a mustard grain, you will say to this mountain, ‘Transfer from here to there,’ and it will transfer, and nothing will be impossible for you.”—Matthew 17:14-20.
From this true-life experience, it is evident that faith is powerful. But just what is faith? Can it be built up and strengthened? Can it really move mountains?
What Is Faith?
The apostle Paul described faith as “the assured expectation of things hoped for, the evident demonstration [or, convincing evidence] of realities though not beheld.” (Hebrews 11:1) In other words, faith is convincing evidence of something unseen. It is not based on mere hearsay but has a solid foundation. Hence, faith differs from credulity. One dictionary defines credulity as “belief or readiness of belief, esp[ecially] on slight or uncertain evidence.” Contrariwise, the person with true faith has solid evidence for what he believes. Therefore, he can tell you why he is convinced that a certain thing will come to pass. The father mentioned at the outset had some evidence convincing him that Jesus could cure his son. What evidence? Well, Jesus had been performing miracles for more than two years, and his fame had spread throughout most of Palestine.—Luke 7:17; John 10:25.
Faith has also been described as “the title-deed of things hoped for.” A man who purchases a distant property and has the title deed in his hand has convincing evidence that the property exists and that it really belongs to him, even though he may never have seen it. So, too, the person with faith can bring forth tangible evidence for what he believes. For example, suppose he has faith that Jehovah God will bring true peace to this earth through His Kingdom. Then the individual must have at hand evidence that God exists and has the power, the will, and the wisdom needed to bring peace and that He has established the Kingdom for that purpose. Such evidence must be strong enough to convince not only the person having faith but also others who might ‘demand of him the reason for his hope’ for peace.—1 Peter 3:15.
Faith Can Move Mountains!
Someone may ask, however, ‘Did Jesus mean that such faith could literally transfer mountains?’ Jesus may have included that, but he often used illustrations. (Matthew 13:34) So he probably had in mind obstacles that could be like mountains to the believer. In fact, the word “mountain” is frequently used to mean a huge quantity, such as “a mountain of debts.” That true faith can transfer or remove mountainlike obstacles is confirmed by many modern-day experiences.
For example, would you not agree that being paralyzed from the neck down would be such a mountain? Yet, a quadriplegic living in Vancouver, B.C., Canada, not only has learned to paint, with either a brush or a palette knife held in his mouth, but also supports himself by selling his paintings. Moreover, his faith moves him to talk to others about what he has learned from the Bible, doing so either in his wheelchair or by writing letters. He types his letters by striking the typewriter keys with a stick held in his mouth. He also attends Christian meetings regularly and gives talks in the Theocratic Ministry School conducted by Jehovah’s Witnesses. His example of faith, coupled with hard work and determination, is a source of encouragement to those around him.
Faith in God’s Word and his promises has similarly helped others. For example, it has helped many to overcome unchristian habits and customs, such as shady business practices, stealing, smoking, gambling, drunkenness, spiritism, sexual immorality, and false religious practices. The common factor in all such experiences was the obtaining of convincing evidence that Jehovah God exists, that the Bible is his written Word, and that his promises set forth in the Scriptures are trustworthy and will be fulfilled. Such faith can move mountains.