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My granddaughter has an excellent book about trains called ‘Terrific Trains’ which seeks to teach young children about trains using rhymes to do so. When I first read the book to her, one page in particular captured her attention: “When a train meets a mountain, it doesn’t have to stop. It travels through a tunnel and your ears go ‘pop!'”
I don’t know which part of this page – the alliteration, the rhyme, the word ‘pop!‘ or the engaging pictures – so captured her attention, but for weeks, this was the only page she wanted me to read, and so it became a parable to me.
A mountain is an impregnable obstacle to a train journey. A mountain stands majestic, but cannot be ignored. Life is full of metaphorical mountains, full of obstacles which are far greater than our ability to circumnavigate!
For the train journey not to simply end when the train meets the mountain, engineers and builders have to make tunnels. It’s a long, laborious process, requiring skilled knowledge and machinery, but the result is indeed that when a train meets a mountain, it doesn’t have to stop. The journey can continue.
Jesus spoke about faith as small as a mustard seeing having the power to move mountains (Matt 17:20). Sometimes we face situations that are impossible for us to overcome. What we need in those life situations is faith in God, the God of the impossible who has delivered us and will continue to do so. (2 Cor 1:10)
Sometimes the obstacle will be removed. The fault-finding, critical, hostile boss will move on to another job, freeing us to work in harmony again. The bullying, aggressive pupil will be gone, leaving us to enjoy learning again. Butat other times, God makes a tunnel. He enables us to bear a situation which was unbearable. He enables us to carry on when we feel like giving up. He rescues us in less obvious, unexpected ways.
Whether the mountain is removed or we learn to scale it (one weary step after another) or go through it (thanks to a ‘tunnel’ God provides) is irrelevant. When we meet the mountain, we don’t have to stop. We can continue to press on in God. We keep going, thanks to His unfailing love and ever-present help. Our ears may not go ‘pop!’, but our hearts swell with gratitude and wonder as we recognise the Lord helps us to continue our journey in faith and hope.
I am praying for ropes, tunnels and other miracles today to change situations and make the impossible possible with our God.