The runner returns out of breath and pseudo-satisfied.
“OK, there’s a small cloud. It’s about the size of a man’s hand is all. Can I go now?”
Nothing terribly impressive.
Unless your name is Elijah.
Unless you remember being the one who announced there would be NO rain until you said – three years ago. And there hasn’t been.
Unless you remember having repulsive ravens for wait-staff at the Road-Kill Cafe on the outskirts of Cherith.
Unless you remember watching the brook dry up and fail to provide for you.
Unless you remember God sending you to Zaraphath for the next part of the drought to be cared for by a widow.
Unless you remember watching her make and serve the last cake from the last of the meal at breakfast every morning for the last several months. Unless you marvelled at how the oil and meal never ran out.
Today had been quite the day. The fire from above that amazed King Ahab, 450 false prophets for Baal (all of whom are dead now) and 400 for Asherah – and anyone looking on today. God was awesome today. What a fantastic show-down!
“There is going to be rain. Heavy rain, Ahab, go get yourself something to eat.”
So when the runner comes back yet another time with the so-so words, “but it’s only the size of a man’s hand”, I’m sure Elijah energetically set him straight. “Don’t say it’s ‘just’ the size of a man’s hand. It’s a cloud. God made it, it’s going to grow, and Ahab needs to hurry back to town before the rain stops him! So do we!” (He outran Ahab’s horse-drawn chariot, by the way, details in 1 Kings 18)
- – – -
I’m relating to this story pretty well right now.
A little over two years ago, a year-long job as a contractor with 20 hours of pre-approved overtime every week changed to a company job with benefits. God was providing and we were thankful. Less than a month into the new arrangements came the edict from corporate. “No more overtime. Not for anyone.” Oh-man. That hurts. We can’t survive on what will be coming in.
God said to Brenda and me “You go over there and do what I have for you there, you go over here, and do this in addition to what you’ve been doing”. So we did. It was OK. It wasn’t what I was best at, but God was providing and I wasn’t about to complain. No-Siree.
Then came the call to make another transition. “I’m in! Whatever You say, Lord.” Seven ambitous months later the phone call came. “The bottom has fallen out of the market. Sorry, man; you’re done.”
Just like that. Done. This is great, Brenda retired this Spring because things were looking good. Now we neither one have jobs!
I’d like to tell you it was an exercise in faith and I did great, trusting in and counting on God with simple, childlike trust. I’d like to tell you that, but it wouldn’t be the whole truth. It’s been hard. Very hard. God has provided from unexpected sources, just like He did with Elijah, but it’s not been easy. OK, it’s been hard. It’s still hard. But God is still God.
A few days ago a cloud appeared in my world. It’s not very big, but it’s an answer to our prayers. Clouds grow. Move the “L” in “cloud” and it becomes “could”. I see promise. Opportunity. God did it. I’m excited. Maybe not as excited as Elijah, but I am. “Get ready!” God’s going to do something. And we’re going to love telling the story with Him at the center of it.
- – – -
Have you been praying long and hard for something specific? Keep your eyes open. Watch for the beginnings of the answer. Don’t lose hope. Stay thankful / grateful. God loves to give to His children. When there’s work to be done outside our field of vision it looks like inactivity or no-progress, but there’s no such thing when God is involved. When you do see the progress, thank Him. Take a breath and get ready for what He’s about to show you – at the pace He chooses. I’m hoping God does things quickly in our situation like he did the afternoon Elijah sprinted all the way to town. But whatever pace He chooses – I’m with Him. It’s the only place to be.