Who doesn’t think of moving mountains when we think of faith? For human eyes a mountain flying though the air on its way to be cast into the sea would be truly profound. A person confirmed dead living again – to human eyes – is truly profound. Yet, imagine a world with mountains flying around at whim and millennia old men comparing their multiple causes of deaths. It would be as absurd as the picture above. In fact, from a spiritual perspective, it wouldn’t be profound at all. It would draw our hope and attention to worldly things and damage our perspectives.
Human eyes crave supernatural power. Our entertainment industry proves this in the sorts of fictions that are so popular. Even when Christians set out to create entertainment we find ourselves catering to this Steven Kingesque embellishment of what spiritual power looks like with human eyes. The difference between Jesus’ imagery and the fiction of Steven King’s is dimensional. While a possessed car that has an attitude problem, or an Indian graveyard that makes zombies out of corpses has a superficial air of fascination; what Jesus describes below is truly profound considering the context.
“Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” – Matthew 17:20
Jesus had just freed a boy from seizures and fainting caused by demonic forces. Problems that we know today could last for ones entire life! Which is more profound? To arbitrarily throw a mountain into the sea, or to purposefully help a child recover from oppressive ailments? The mountains Jesus is referring to are not just the demons that the disciples couldn’t cast out, but any force, no matter how big. Faith. Profound faith.
Think about this. The Trinity exists prior to the creation of mankind. Angels are created as servants in the very presence of The Trinity, with such limited free-will that so-far-as-we-know they could only choose to accept their role or reject it, but beyond that their roles were entirely predetermined. They had no hope or possibility of realizing any haughty ambitions they might entertain, having seen the overwhelming omnipotent power of their creator. Virtually no free-will at all really. Who has free-will in the presence of God? Mountains flying through the air? Superman leaping tall buildings in a single bound? Our Creator says a word and the entire universe appears! The superficial becomes nothing in comparison. Literally NOTHING is impossible for God and nothing can contend with His will.
Then The Trinity conceives of another creation. What the Bible calls “Sons of God.” Mankind. The Children will be very unique. God will be their Father, and they will be His Sons. Don’t get hung up on gender here. Gender is a worldly concept. In Heaven we’re all the same and ancient languages call us all sons and call God Father.
What’s so special about The Children? Well for one, they will have a form of free-will that is alien to the angels. In fact, God’s plan is that The Children should be able to not just obey Him, but also Love Him. This isn’t something we’re sure that angels can even do. They can obey, but can they love? Could we, if we existed face-to-face with something so much greater than ourselves?
To accomplish His goal for us, the universe as we know it was created for us. From God’s perspective the universe could be something like a nest. Carefully built around his flock to provide us with a place where we can grow without direct exposure to His intense, overwhelming, and irresistible influence.
God gives us hints of all of this throughout scripture, in Exodus 33:20 He says: “you cannot see my face, for man may not see me and live.” That serves as a hint at why things are the way they are and an arrow pointing toward this profound revelation.
So we are created within the nest of all of creation. From our tiny perspective this nest is far too enormous to ever leave. Yet our undeveloped eyes can’t make things out clearly. Most of all, we cannot see our Father. If we could see Him before we are ready we’d be ruined. There’s something for us to do. Something only we can do. Angels can’t do this, and even the Trinity cannot. Only we can do this, and it is profound. It is the proverbial meaning of life (Ecclesiastes 12:13). It is a gift from our Father. A profoundly and mutually gratifying gift.
What is it that we can do that is so profoundly different from any other being? We can choose Him. We can choose Him without the coercive influence of His overwhelming omnipotence. This nest we call “creation” is a perfect place for God’s children to choose Him and to Love Him.
Angels don’t choose God, but some did reject God. Our existence is quite to that contrary. Our free-will comes with the very difficult to understand possibility that some will not choose God. We shouldn’t be so surprised, 100% compliance is not a sign of free-will. It’s a sign of slavery. God didn’t want to make slaves, not of the angels and especially not of His children. Yet for paradise to exist disobedience cannot exist. Darkness = evil and evil = suffering and suffering cannot exist in paradise.
That’s the impossible dilemma that only God could solve. He wants children, He wants to Love and be Loved, but His shear power makes slaves of any that see Him. Even those angels that fell from heaven remain slaves of His will. Their hatred and evil drive them to contend with Him and to try to steal His children away right from inside the nest. A serpent is perfectly analogous. It slithers into the nest and grabs the children.
So here we are, in the nest of God: “…how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings” (Luke 13:34) … When we choose Him, when we are willing, that is faith. That faith means that nothing is impossible. Not something as simple and arbitrary as casting a mountain into the sea, or leaping tall buildings in a single bound, but something as profound as having been blind and now seeing. Not only can we now see, but we also can heal the blind. In the profound and spiritual way, and to do so, sometimes, in the superficial and worldly way.
Faith is profound, even the tiniest bit of it. Faith is the meaning of life, and while we may long to leave the nest and be with “Our Father which art in heaven” we should celebrate the time we have left to Love Him right where we are. We should thank Him for His profound Love for us in His unwillingness to enslave us to Him. It’s the one thing we can give Him that nobody else can, and no matter the state of the world around us, it’s actually the only thing that really matters at all. To know Jesus and to make Him known. To Love God and His Children. Our family, now and forevermore.
When we enter into His presence we will not be slaves, He chose us, and we will have chosen Him, and despite our everlasting life in obedience to Him we will never be slaves, we will always be Children. Paradise without slavery, and only possible because of this process our Father devised. Amazing, amen.