Dashrath Manjhi lived in a remote region of northern India as “an outcast, a landless laborer who had to trek across an entire mountain every day, just to reach the farm that he worked on. It was a treacherous trek, and led to accidents often. His people needed help, there were lives at stake every day. He decided, if no one would help his people, he would.”
Desperate for safe access across this massive obstacle, Dashrath took on the grueling task of creating a 30-foot wide road through a 300-foot tall mountain, with only a hammer, chisel, and crowbars. Each day, he would work on the farm to provide for his family, then he would turn his efforts to chiseling a way through the imposing rock. To make a very long story short . . .
“After 22 years, Dashrath Das Manjhi, the common man, the landless laborer, had broken the mountain: he had carved out a road 360 feet long, 30 feet wide. Wazirganj, with its doctors, jobs, and school, was now only 5 kilometers away. People from 60 villages in Atri could use his road. Children had to walk only 3 kilometers to reach school” (quotes taken from http://www.thebetterindia.com/18326/the-man-who-moved-a-mountain-milaap-dashrath-manjhi/ )
This story makes me wonder what Christians could do if we truly began applying faith and action to the mountains looming before us. Oh, I know we may not live in impoverished areas far removed from adequate medical facilities, nor do our children have to traverse precarious precipices to attend school. But make no mistake about it, there are dangerous mountains in our midst. The enemy of our souls has set his sites on destroying the relationships of families and friends and basically every human being on planet earth. None are exempt from his ruthlessness.
In the words of author Sarah Bessey:
. . . But as the people of God, we have a choice: we either make excuses or we make the mountains move, one stone at a time, one after another after another. Radical faith looks a lot like faithfulness, and look at what God can do with that.
We make choices to make mountains move by remaining faithful.
We make mountains move by purposefully placing our hands to the task of obliterating the obstacles, one stone at a time. Stones that are moved in a variety of ways right here where we live when we choose to stand firm against failed marriages by loving our spouse for life. Stones that shift as we tug the hearts of prodigals toward home by remaining unconditional in our love, persistent in our prayers. Stones that topple when we encourage a sick friend with our presence, doctor appointment after doctor appointment. Stones that unsettle when we refuse to walk away, even when everyone else would.
Radical faith looks a lot like faithfulness.
It looks a lot like living our lives for Jesus with an open invitation to others. An invite to gather, to be welcomed, to belong right here, because this is where Jesus is. Right where we are.
Moving mountains looks a lot like loving my husband and my family and myself and my coworkers and other Christians and those who don’t believe a word of the Gospel message. Moving mountains comes through embracing the whole world, from continent to continent, without borders. Creating a place where everyone can be who they are, yet still become all that God has for them to be — a place where acceptance and repentance and belief flourish side by side.
And the most amazing thing about this whole process is that grace covers all of it, and God does something beautiful. One life at a time. Faithful act after faithful act. One kind word built upon another. Soul by soul.
Stones are cast by the wayside as forgiveness is released and absorbed, restoring life after life to Father.
It is hard work to move mountains, and often it is lonely work. Perhaps you’ll feel abandoned and wonder if anyone even notices the amount of stones you’ve removed thus far by just showing up and going about your work day after day. You will most likely get hurt in the process, and you may even receive some wounds that leave scars. I guarantee there will be times you want to give up and walk away from the task before you. Moments or days or even months at a time when you’ll fling your hands into the air and want to quit.
But I pray you don’t.
I pray you stay.
I pray you stay beyond the hurt, and hold steady throughout every trial. Because though moving mountains is hard work, it is also a beautiful work. And one worthy of God’s kingdom.
For those who move mountains are among the hopeful.
May we always live as such and share the gift with whomever stumbles upon our path. And when they stumble, may we be the first to cast aside a stone or two and help them rise to their feet and continue onward as one beloved.
May we show the world what radical faith really looks like as we determine to love and remain faithful.
Day after day.