As I have studied the Scriptures to deepen my faith, I have become convinced that if we want to have ridiculous faith, we simply have to do this.
Great faith is always preceded by in-depth fellowship with our heavenly Father. The famous preacher Charles Spurgeon put it like this:
Would you, my brethren, have like faith, then walk in the same path [as Moses]. Be much in secret prayer. Hold constant fellowship with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ; so shall you soar aloft on wings of confidence, so shall you also open your mouth wide and have it filled with divine favors.
What did Moses do? He went to the mountain. God invited Moses to come up to Mount Sinai, and he went.
When Moses went up on the mountain, the cloud covered it, and the glory of the Lord settled on Mount Sinai. For six days the cloud covered the mountain, and on the seventh day the Lord called to Moses from within the cloud. To the Israelites the glory of the Lord looked like a consuming fire on top of the mountain. Then Moses entered the cloud as he went on up the mountain. And he stayed on the mountain forty days and forty nights. (Ex. 24:15–18)
What was Moses doing on the mountain? The simple answer is he was connecting with God. He was having intense conversations and communion with God and deepening his relationship with his Creator. “The Lord would speak to Moses face to face as one speaks to a friend” (Ex. 33:11).
It is in such times of communion with God that we begin to see how trustworthy He is. And when we see His trustworthy character, our faith is transformed from fleeting to unwavering.
The reason Moses could have such great faith and be so strong in the face of overwhelming hardship was that he spent time on the mountain with God. There he saw God and “he persevered because he saw him who is invisible” (Heb. 11:27). After that experience on the mountain, Moses knew he could count on an invisible means of support. No matter what happened, whatever trials came his way, he could depend on this invisible God who had only become visible to him on the mountain.
When I say we need to go to the mountain, I reflect on one of my own adventures. I was supposed to go to Africa with Brice to meet our two sponsored African children (a story I detail in Love, Skip, Jump). But the night before we were supposed to leave, Brice got sick—I mean really sick. He couldn’t go.
I was ready to cancel my trip, too, when he said, “Shelene, you’re not sick. You need to go.”
When I protested, he said, “God obviously wants to take a vacation with you.”
I went. And that trip “to the mountain” changed my life. In Africa, for the first time, I was able to block out the noise of my life long enough to hear God’s gentle whisper calling me to live differently. That trip compelled me to get my eyes off myself and start loving others as Christ did. It exploded my faith in ways I never could have imagined and led me to leave my life as a movie producer to found the charity Skip1.org, which funnels donations from ordinary people into food and water projects worldwide.
I am convinced that those of us seeking to have great faith need to get seriously intentional about deepening our relationship with our Creator. That is impossible to do with this world constantly screaming at us. Amid the constant barrage of phone calls, e-mails, texts, likes, tweets, instant messages, Snapchats, friend requests, and automated reminders from the pharmacy to refill a prescription from two years ago we didn’t know we had, it’s no wonder we never have a chance to commune with God.
That’s why we need mountain journeys in our lives. Times we can get away from it all, unplug, and be alone with God. It is only then, with all the demanding voices shut off, that we can turn to our Creator, who has become almost a stranger to us. It is only then that we can get reacquainted with the One who is letting us breathe. It is on the mountain that we can recognize how faithful He is. Only then can we grasp how worthy of our faith He is. Only then can He water the mustard seeds of faith that lie dormant deep within us.
When and where is your mountain? God beckons and invites you up. What are you going to do about His call?
Your mountain might be the beach, it might be a hotel room, it might be a campsite or simply a tent in your backyard. What matters is your decision to go there. To get away from your life long enough to connect with God.
You might say, “There is no way I can spare forty days.” Okay, how about a week? How about starting with one single day? One day set aside to pray, worship, and reflect on God.
I have seen what God did when I climbed the mountain. I can promise you that your faith can’t help but explode when you invest the time to seek and worship Him.
“Come near to God and he will come near to you” (James 4:8).
Lord, forgive me for letting the meaningless demands of this world drown out my pursuit of knowing and loving You. Forgive me for treating prayer as a task, an obligation I must check off my list. Grant me the discipline to meet You on the mountain. When I am faced with trials that threaten to sink me, remind me that I have an invisible support that will sustain me. Build my faith so that I may please You with my life. Amen.
[Editor’s Note: This content is taken from Ridiculous Faith: Experience the Power of an Absurdly, Unbelievably Good God by Shelene Bryan. © 2016 by Shelene Bryan. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson, www.thomasnelson.com.]
Shelene Bryan is the author of Love, Skip, Jump and the founder of Skip1.org, a charity dedicated to providing food and clean water to children in America and around the world. She lives in Southern California with her husband, Brice, and their two children.
Publication date: April 14, 2016