When God Gives a Mountain
By Annabelle Ellis
“And the LORD said to Moses, ‘Is the LORD’s
hand waxed short? Thou shalt see now whether my
word shall come to pass unto thee or not’” (Numbers 11:23).
On December 11, 2019, I drove to Antioch, Tennessee, to meet with the IM board, seeking approval for a two-year term in Tokyo, Japan. As I drove, I prayed simply, “It’s Yours, Lord. Do what You will.” After the board granted approval, I told the Lord, “I want Your face and hand to be seen in every aspect of this. I want everyone to see what You can do!”
Some of the largest mountains we scale come from God. I eagerly anticipated climbing with Him.
Following orientation in January 2020, I began fundraising—scheduling speaking arrangements, making phone calls daily, and sharing with everyone willing to listen how they could partner in reaching the unreached with the gospel. I threw everything into the Lord’s hands. Within the first month of fundraising, my account neared 20% funding. I was hopeful, prayerful, and optimistic I’d be fully funded by the end of the summer and in Japan by September. I thought I had reached a mountaintop, when I’d only begun to climb.
During the following weeks, COVID-19 made a grim trip around the globe. Satan used the pandemic to inflict crippling fear; destroy familial, societal, and economic infrastructure; and spread largescale sorrow and hopelessness. The entire world suffered. As the pandemic spread like wildfire in the U.S., I wondered what was going on beneath the surface, beyond what we could see. What was the Lord doing? What was I doing—attempting to raise funds and grow support in a world immobilized overnight? I knew worrying over the “what ifs” would change nothing, but no one fundraises during a global crisis. What do you do when there is nothing you can do?
I felt like I had scaled a mountain only to come face-to-face with a vertical stone wall with no climbing gear—no way around and no way up. As COVID-19 raged, IM hosted an online meeting for all stateside missionaries. Lauren Riggs, intern to Spain, shared a humbling truth during the meeting. The pandemic didn’t take God by surprise. He still brought new people to be appointed with IM. He knew what was coming, and He knew what He was doing. “Maybe this mountain isn’t for me to climb,” I mused. “Maybe it needs to be moved. Maybe this is how God will be seen.”
Maybe, just maybe, God gives some mountains so they can be given back to Him.
God’s purpose is for every nation, tribe, people, and tongue to know and worship Him. My aim is to proclaim Christ through obedience, but it isn’t my mission. Rather, it is God’s mission to bring all people to Himself. He invites us to join His mission and proclaim the gospel among those who have never heard (2 Peter 3:9). In the spring, I journaled out of honest vulnerability: “I know what You say in Your Word, but I want to see it, Lord. I want to see you move a mountain.”
I didn’t need to remind God of His Word. I needed to remember to call on Him to hear, then step wholeheartedly in faith toward the One who is faithful to provide. I began to ask God fervently to provide in spite of the circumstances.
My schedule filled little by little. My account began growing again, reaching the 50% mark. I set a goal, in work and prayer, to be fully funded in December. As summer turned into autumn, my schedule booked fully, and my account rose steadily. The Lord fulfilled His promises of provision. He sent individuals and churches to partner with me in getting the gospel to Japanese people.
On December 11, 2020, I received a phone call from IM, Inc. I heard, “I’m calling to tell you you’re fully funded.” The rest of my morning overflowed with praise to the Lord. I had witnessed a mountain thrown into the sea! God provided for me to go from approval to fully funded in exactly 365 days, as though a pandemic never occurred. Only the great I AM can
As I pondered His faithfulness during the Christmas season, the Holy Spirit brought the children of Israel to mind. I thought about all they wrestled with for hundreds of years—waiting, longing, desperately desiring to see God’s faithfulness. Isaiah 53 prophesies Christ’s love for humanity by taking the punishment we could never bear or afford. The next chapter speaks of His love in beautiful, metaphoric detail that becomes quite literal. “‘For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed,’ saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee” (Isaiah 54:10).
This promise that if the earth were to crumble underfoot, God’s love would not fail was delivered to a people about to go into 70 years of exile under Babylonian captivity followed by centuries of waiting for the promised Messiah. God’s love did not fail. Jesus brought hope and love incarnate. He fulfilled the ultimate promise from God from the beginning of humanity. God did that. God kept His Word and did what He said He would do.
He faithfully continues to provide for the gospel to be proclaimed to all who have yet to hear. He promises every nation will gather around His heavenly throne, and He is patiently keeping His promise. He is a faithful, promise-keeping God, and it’s all because of who He is. It is His nature, His character, to be faithful.
Even when we can’t see, even when a mountain is dropped directly in our path, even when we walk through valleys so deep we feel we’ll never emerge, God remains the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He will be what He has been. He is faithful to hear, faithful to see, and faithful to keep His Word to those who are His and those who have yet to hear of Him.
About the Writer: Annabelle Ellis cultivated her passion for reaching the lost by participating in ETEAM (Brazil and Japan), CMP (Japan), and serving her local church. She attended Welch College and graduated from Austin Peay State University with a B.S. in social work in 2020. She awaits Japan's reopening to begin her internship. Visit iminc.org to learn more.