The past two years have been a draining exercise in patience. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t felt the strain of constant change and expectation from every direction.

Yet, here we are, embarking on a brand new year, and I fear many of us are planning in survival mode.

I fully understand why, but I want to see you grow this year. I want to grow. I want my family, church, friends, community and students to get better in 2022.

Most often in the Bible, mountains are referred to as challenges. Jesus tells us we can move mountains if we only believe.

I’ve always wondered why we would want to move a mountain, but I’m not seeing it like He’s saying. Jesus is telling His followers that nothing must stand in their way. Nothing is impossible with God.

The prophet Zechariah tells us to speak loudly to our challenging mountains. We don’t shout in power or might or fear; instead, we shout in grace. It is the grace Jesus gives that gives us the ability to overcome.

Every challenge leads to great joy. While mountains signify great difficulty, they also prove to be powerful blessings to us. Jesus was born on a mountain after a fierce journey. Jesus poured out the Holy Spirit on us at Mount Zion.

The law was given at Mount Sinai. Jesus purchased our salvation on Mount Calvary. What blessing awaits you atop your next mountain?

Have you decided to no longer climb it? Are you saying to your mountain, “You have won?”

Arise! Come on, and let’s begin walking again. Maybe this fight is one you win. This swing might be the home run. This jump might clear the distance. Don’t quit! Let’s take that mountain.

Jesus gives a powerful lesson in a parable about a fig tree. He tells of a man who wants to cut down a fig tree because he’s been waiting for fruit for six years, and there isn’t any.

The gardener responds, “Let’s give it one more year. I’ll dig around the roots to see if there are problems under the surface, and then I’ll fertilize it.”

Jesus probably was reminding us of God’s great patience with us and showed all the work He goes through to help us grow. He also shows us a three-fold plan to begin fruitful life again.

Give it a year. Give it just a little more time. Don’t give up on your dream yet. Whether it’s financial, professional, health-related, relational or personal, keep that goal alive! God wants to see you on purpose in joy. So pick up your feet again and give it one more try.

Secondly, the gardener said to dig to the roots. Have you taken an honest assessment of why you haven’t succeeded? Are there systems or issues in your life keeping you from climbing your mountain? Maybe, this year, dig and see if you can cure what ails you or seek out what you need to fix it.

Lastly, we are told grace happens to the tree. Something which it can’t produce comes to its aid. Fertilizer helps living things grow.

If you lack self-discipline, seek it out in someone else who does. If you don’t have the correct information, seek it out. Receive the empowerment that only comes from Jesus Christ through prayer. With time, digging to the truth, and lavished grace, there is nothing you can’t accomplish.

Keep climbing.

Emanuel Webb Hoggard is pastor at Askewville Assembly of God and a resident of Edenton. He can be reached at

Thadd White can be reached via email at