Moving Mountains: Faith Battles Are Normal for Christian Leaders

Moving Mountains

This is not another song about the mountains
Except about how hard they are to move
Have you ever stood before them
Like a mustard seed that’s waiting for some proof?

Well, I say, “Faith is a burden
It’s a weight to bear, it’s brave and bittersweet
And hope is hard to hold to”
Lord, I believe, only help my unbelief

From No More Faith by Andrew Peterson

At times faith can be hard. Faith challenges us to focus not on what is seen, but what is unseen. Faith challenges us to react to situations based on believing God is in control and up to something good and not on our fears and anxieties of what is happening in front of us. Faith challenges us to trust people and things into God’s hands when it seems like they are in our hands.

A few months ago we were at a local church and during prayer time multiple members of the church gathered around me and prayed prayers of healing and comfort over me for our son Dylan who was recently diagnosed with epilepsy. These prayers were acts of faith and love by brothers and sisters in Christ and were healing, encouraging, comforting and hope giving to me. Moments later I walk downstairs to the playroom where Dylan was playing with Kari and within seconds of opening the door Dylan has a seizure. What is one to do with that? How is one to reconcile their faith and questions in these situations?

Peter instinctively knew what to do in this type of situation. When he got out of the boat and walked on water and what he was seeing around him began to undermine his faith he cried out to Jesus, “Save me!” Jesus reached out his hand and saved him. Or in Mark 9:24 after Jesus makes the statement, “Everything is possible for him who believes,” the man responds, “I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief.” This man recognized his own weaknesses and limitations in the area of faith, yet had faith Christ could help him with this. Instead of Peter and this man trying to intellectually figure out the apparent contradiction between their faith and the circumstances in front of them they both reached out to Jesus to help them – which ironically is a great act of faith. It is faith in who Jesus is, faith in His love, faith in His ability to help, and not faith in the circumstances surrounding them.

When we see Dylan having a seizure and are reminded that our prayers for healing have not yet been answered it could throw us into a theological conundrum. And while, in the moment it is very tough and confusing, turning to Jesus, trusting Him when we cannot figure it out, putting Dylan in His hands, is our step of faith.

Many who come to Marble Retreat are having the experience of their faith not lining up with their reality. For some it is totally giving themselves to ministry but they are not seeing fruit in the ministry. For others, it is helping people they serve conquer sin and brokenness but being unable to conquer it themselves. For others, it has been being sold out for God but then getting cancer which takes them out of ministry. For others, it has been leading people to the Good Father, but then confusingly that Good Father lets their own child die from disease or accident.

These faith battles can be very difficult. They can make a Christian leader feel like a hypocrite when they are teaching others something that they are currently struggling to believe or experience themselves. These situations can include confusion, frustration, and grief, including anger.

What we have found is that when Christian leaders are honest about their questions, doubts, and feelings to some others and to God, when they work through the grief associated with their situation, when they hear or realize that their struggle is normal and a part of the journey of all great people of faith, and accept their own limitations in understanding God, and then come to Christ in a step of faith even when they do not have it all figured out – they find that He is good, comforting, and healing for their souls and their faith.