It's a pretty small, a mustard seed. Almost nothing. Yet, "If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you." n1
n1 Matthew 17:20:
Christ Jesus certainly wasn't urging his followers to go about rearranging the ladscape just to prove they had a little faith. But he surely did mean -- and proved - that faith can remove mountains of fear, danger, ignorance, disease.
These mountains that faith has to remove can seem Everest-like at times. I was the greenhorn navigator on a destroyer, prematurely pressed into that duty by the exigencies of war, trying one night to find a single lighted buoy several miles off the coast of Norfolk, Va. We needed the buoy to start us down a cleared channel through a widespread mine field. We had no radar to help us, and when we found no light where I calculated the buoy to be, the ship and crew of some 300 men seemed lost.
I turned completely to God. I don't remember any particular inspiring thoughts, but my faith was genuine. It was based on the knowledge I had gained through Christian Science that God is good only, never creating or causing evil of any kind; that He is divine, infinite, unvarying Love.
Suddenly technicians working on our ailing depth-measuring instrument got a single depth reading, which was given to me. I had no reason to consider it meaningful, but I felt of doing what I should, I went to the chart and positioned the ship on the strength of that stray reading. Then I told the captain to come some 90 degrees starboard to a new course. He did, and within an hour's steaming, there, in all the night's overcast and blackness, was that beautiful lighted buoy.
My mountains had been ignorance and fear. But my trust in divine aid, certainly of mustard-seed size, was effective. The mountains were removed.
Is the kind of faith Jesus referred to merely desperate pleading, or is it hope grounded in spiritual understanding? Mary Baker Eddy n2 points to the effectiveness of the mustard-seed faith of pure spiritually when she writes, "become conscious for a single moment that Life and intelligence are purely spiritual, -- neither in nor of matter, -- and the body will then utter no complaints." n3
n2 Mrs. Eddy is the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science.
n3 Science and Health with Key to The Scriptures,m p. 14.
But such consciousness doesn't come at the snap of one's fingers, nor is it analogous to a lucky pull at a slot machine lever. Jesus warned his disciples -- having just healed a case of epilepsy and given them the mustard-seed parable -- "Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting." n4 Only thus, the Master was saying, can one gain the faith that understands God and proves His power.
n4 Matthew 17:21.
What are the prayer and fasting that can bring us so powerful a faith? The prayingm is the deep and constant affirming of God's omnipotence and omnipresence and man's eternal and perfect expression of Him; the fastingm is the persistent rejecting of the fallacy that supposes real, God-given existence to include an evil and frightening power -- a power opposed to God, good.
Are we without help until we have fully prayed and fasted? Not at all. Jesus assured us that a grain, in the final analysis, be a metaphor for humility , for the consciousness that sees not our own ability but God's as the true healing and saving power? DAILY BIBLE VERSE He delivereth and rescueth, and he worketh signs and wonders in heaven and in earth. Daniel 6:27