In times like these?
When you stand in the dark and keep lighting the candles, keep moving the candle ahead through Lent, keep trying to move ahead even though you don’t know what’s up ahead?
In times like these you keep thinking:
To scale that mountain ahead of you, you have to silence the lies in your head.
You know the lies.
The lies that tell you that mountain you’re facing is greater than the God who is facing you — God who has never turned His back on you for one moment ever, so you’re never facing anything insurmountable, so you’re always facing the One who is unstoppable.
The lies that tell you that don’t have what it takes to keep going — when the Mover of Mountains takes you, and He has you, and He keeps you so nothing can keep you from moving this mountain.
The lies that tell you should just lay down and give up now — when God’s giving you His hand right now to help you up.
Because our God moves, these mountains can move.
Whatever mountain you’re climbing can stretch out into a road — because Jesus didn’t climb down from the cross, but stretched out His arms and made Himself into your road right through mountains.
God flattens mountains to build our faith.
God doesn’t move mountains to make things easy, but to make everything about Him because it’s our hearts that get to move.
In times like these?
We can light all the candles and get to be like the people of ancient of Cairo and that unforgettable story of faith:
In the late days of the 9th century, the Caliph of Cairo threw down a literal ultimatum to Christian Abraam literally enact the words of Matthew 17:20:
And if no mountain moved?
The Caliph of Cairo threatened to expel, enslave or execute every single Christian in the city.
Abraam gathered Cairo’s entire Christian community at the foot of Mokattam Mountain, and for three long days, the faithful prayed and fasted and raised one unified, repeating cry, “Lord, have mercy.”
In the middle of this Lent, in the middle of times like these?
We can be the people who gather to pray because prayer does more than change the mountain in front of us — it changes us.
We can be the people who fast — because when we fast, we find ourselves holding so fast, so close, to God, that we see how the God we face is infinitely larger than any mountain we face.
We can be the people who raise one unified cry to God — because our cries never fall on deaf ears, but are caught by His soft, open heart.
God hears our cry, because He is right here.
Honestly? Your cry can be a whisper because your God is carrying you close.
And even before we cry for the Lord to have mercy — His mercies come new every morning.
Let the mercies that come new every morning — come right in and stay with you.
Because: The way you ask God to move your mountain is to not focus on the height of your mountain but the depths of God’s mercy.
After three days of all the people of faith gathering to pray, to fast, to cry out to the Lord, with the Caliph of Cairo present, Abraam prayed again: Lord, have mercy.
And the dirt beneath the thousands of bowed knees shook.
The earth quaked.
With thousands of feet standing witness at the foot of Mokattam Mountain:
THE. MOUNTAIN. MOVED.
The believers rose to their feet — and the mountain rose right off the ground.
When your faith is fully grounded in Christ — mountains in your way move fully off the ground.
When you have even mustard-seed faith, it can grow a tree whose roots crack apart the largest rock.
It’s never the size of our faith that moves our mountains, but the strength of our God.
And: When your world feels rocked, it’s because God’s moving your mountain.
Not once, not twice, but three times, the ancient story goes, the Caliph and all the gathered Christians of Cairo witnessed Mokattam Mountain lift directly from the earth, sun beams wedging right between the space between mountain and earth, like the mountain was suspended in light above the terra firma.
There is light even now at the end of your tunnel, even now, lifting your mountain.
As sun rays swept under the moved mountain, the Caliph looked down to see those rays of light sweep across his feet, and could only murmur: “I see.”
See light at your feet.
See light: Mountains move! The Light of Christ pries out your mountain!
See hope! Feel rays of hope warm your darkest places of despair.
Mountains can lift, burdens can lift, you can keep lifting your feet, forging forward, because Christ is lifted higher than the heights of any mountain.
What is your mountain to your Messiah?
You can take on any steep incline — because Jesus’s heart is inclined to yours.
You are made to move mountains — because your heart is made to be determined to move whatever it needs to get closer to Him.
Egyptian Christian tradition says that after watching Mokattam Mountain move, the Caliph of Cairo turned and converted to Christianity.
In the dark, I keep lighting the candles.
Keep turning to see light in these wild, dark days in the middle of Lent.
Turn and believe with your entire heart that even these mountains can entirely move.
Because God moves with you — moves so close.