If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, "Be uprooted and planted in the sea," and it will obey you (Luke 17:6).
The Master of Prayer encouraged small-faith disciples to go lumber jacking after big targets. Mountains and mulberry trees seem not to have much in common, but Jesus used both examples when he taught believers that a command in his name would force even fruit trees and mountains to take flying leaps.
Was Jesus teaching a lesson about physical displacement?
Was he assuring his listeners that hard-core mountains are conquerable?
Did their stubborn toehold in the earth have a correlation to his lesson?
In this teaching-moment, Jesus emphasizes always turning to God.
Jesus inspired his followers to expect results from bringing flecks of faith to God's creative palm. When confronted with this teaching, I wonder when I last boldly requested something, totally believing God would answer. When have I asked for something earthshaking, beyond my imagination?
Hindrances to my prayers happen daily, and I am the biggest obstacle. One downfall to my prayer life is focusing only on what my physical eyes see. I see my puny bank account. I see the effects of cancer in Lizzie. I see Jerry held captive in a debilitating sin. Physical sight blocks my "Son-sight"!
Another way I hinder prayer is by presenting God with solutions from my imagination. I dream up ways for him to "work" things out. That's when a leafy tree reminds me of Jesus' "mountain and mulberry" words.
A mulberry tree stands guard outside my breakfast-room window. In the spring, the tree is a flurry of leaves and feathers. As the berries ripen, I watch crows forage and blue jays dart in for fast food. On the windowsill, I prop up an index card that reminds me of Jesus' challenge-words, "You can say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted.'"
The next time I see a clump of hills, I will remember that they could hike up their grassy skirts, yank up roots, and walk off. I will remember my mulberry tree could wiggle out of the soil and settle into salt water.
I will remember.
Father, I still struggle with feeble faith, but I thank you for hearing my timid voice and working wonders to your glory. I lift my eyes to the hills and thank you for the visual aid, O Son of Man. In his name. Amen.