And when they came to the crowd, a man came up to him and, kneeling before him, said, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and he suffers terribly. For often he falls into the fire, and often into the water. And I brought him to your disciples, and they could not heal him.” And Jesus answered, “O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him here to me.” And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him, and the boy was healed instantly. Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:14-20
Yesterday was the final day of Niobrara Convocation. We had a wonderful Eucharist and give away as our last morning together. There are so many wonderful ministries and communities represented. There is so much work to be done, and so much need that never seems to get met. It can be easy to see the lack, and easy to lose faith. I came away, watching the hills and the buffalo herds pass by, giving thanks for the amazing people I met in the past few days. We can focus on the challenges, and lose our hope and momentum. Or we can look to the beauty of the hills and the love of the people, and ask God to give us the strength and the faith to move mountains and change lives.
Jesus is asked to heal a little boy who has frustrated everyone else. The boy was suffering and no one was able to help him. Their fear and hopelessness defeated their faith. It can happen to the strongest one of us, when the storms and the frustrations are relenting and we lose our grasp on faith. Jesus reminds us that we are to hold fast, dig our heals in and continue to expect God to deliver miracles, despite the signs otherwise. God invites us to expect mountains to be moved for the love others and the transformation and healing of our world. We can be weak and frustrated at moments, by God's design and desire is for healing and miracles for all the people.
Today, as I travel home I ask God to renew and deepen my faith so that I may be a vessel of the in-breaking of God's reign. May discouragement and obstacles melt away, and may we be as stubborn and fast in our faith, so that the world might be renewed and reborn in our day. May we be agents of God's love, that love which is always moving to healing and grace upon grace, abundance beyond our imagining. May we stand firm for God's love, no matter what is ahead, knowing that God has more dreams and hopes for us.