“It is not by force nor by strength, but by my Spirit,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. “Nothing, not even a mighty mountain will stand in [your] way.”
(Zechariah chapter 4, verse 6)
I’m looking up at a mountain again. One too big for me. Full of impossible tasks that I can’t seem to scale no matter how hard I try. There are accusers on this mountain too, yelling down at me to meet demands and reminding me of my mistakes. My body is tired and sore from the last mountain. Yet somehow as I look up at all that looms before me, I’m not overwhelmed.
I’ve learnt from scaling the peeks of past struggles, that it’s the mountains before us that serve to reveal God’s Spirit within us. If we trust this hidden, inner power of an unfathomable love, then we will see mountains become plains, not by our strength, but by grace.
From rubble to Temple
“When the final stone of the Temple is in place, the people will shout: ‘May God bless it!’… The one who laid the foundation for the Temple will complete it.”
(Zechariah chapter 4, verse 7-8)
I’m reminded that we are stones in the Temple that God is building. Every stone has a purpose, and God will set each stone in its proper place so we can fulfil His intentions.
Our lives might seem like fragments of stones—a pile of rubble, even, whacked down by hardship. But nothing is ever wasted when we bring it to God—He rescues all our crushed and crumbled pieces. He lovingly fashions us into a Temple where His Spirit delights to dwell.
God doesn’t leave His work unfinished. He who laid the foundation will keep going until the final stone is set in place. And not a single stone will be missing—He will search the farthest quarries for the rocks He has chosen to be His. He will hew us with craftsmen’s tools until we are like Christ: the cornerstone. Then He will place us firmly in His Temple to shouts of blessing. Once set in Him, we’ll never be moved.
Without a firm foundation we cannot stand. But we are built upon Christ’s bedrock words, so even the storms and floods won’t wash us away. When the calm of dawn comes, we will still be standing, because this Temple outlasts tempests. It’s eternal in its design and structure, and its Builder doesn’t give up on His plans but completes all that He begins, seeing the job through to the end, no matter the cost.
Rejoice in the process of growth
“Do not despise these small beginnings, the Lord rejoices to see the work begin.”
(Zechariah chapter 4, verse 10)
We may feel disheartened at times and like we have laboured to no purpose. We may have been battered by struggles and become weary from climbing mountains, we may have even lost the courage to press on and become paralysed by fear and self-doubt. We may not be able to see the answers to our prayers. But God redeems time. He gives back the days, the months and even the years that were lost to trial and heartache. He will not discard our rubble, but will shape our ruins into His purpose.
When faith seems like it’s loose rubble, He will concrete it down and make our faith firm again. He knows we are weak, but His love is stronger than our doubts.
Choosing to take the first step up the mountain might be a small beginning, but we can rejoice that God’s work has commenced. I am a work in progress. You are too. And that is okay. What we are now is not the end result, but only part of the picture. So, we can be kinder to ourselves and rest in the process of restoration, of being rebuilt. Our deep needs will meet His mercy and our empty places will be reconstructed into a full life.
These small beginnings, these small wins and small breakthroughs all lead to something more wondrous than we can imagine. Our lives are not our own. That’s what surrender means—we are no longer in control. We have let go and given it all to God. Every mountain that looms before us is now His to conquer. This is a somewhat frightening thing, but also incandescently glorious.
God longs to bless us more than we can fathom. He gives back more than we give up.
“Your lives will begin to glow in the darkness, your shadowed lives will be bathed in sunlight. I will always show you where to go. I’ll give you a full life in the emptiest of places…You’ll use the old rubble of past lives to build anew, rebuild the foundations from out of your past.”
(Isaiah chapter 58, verses 10-12)
Amy is a Press Services International Columnist from Adelaide. She has a BA in Creative Writing and Screen & Media, and now works as a freelance photographer, videographer and writer. She was runner-up in the 2018 Basil Sellars Award. Her previous articles can be viewed here: http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/amy-manners.html