… At the top of the mountain, Elijah bent down. He put his head between his knees. Then Elijah said to his servant, “Go up higher and look toward the sea.” The servant went and looked. He came back and said, “I saw nothing.” Elijah told him to go look again. This happened seven times. The seventh time, the servant came back and said, “I saw a small cloud the size of a man’s fist…” – 1 Kings 18:42b-44.
Let me start this blog off by saying I completely understand how it is possible for us to focus more on the past and the present, than the future. Although this is not the healthiest way to live, many of us have lived, and are living, on the intersection of Back Then Street and What Now Avenue. The fact is, we sometimes spend more time mourning (or reminiscing) what COULD HAVE been and what WAS, mainly because we see no sign/evidence of what WILL BE. Some of us feel that our “best years” are behind us because our present looks dim and our future nonexistent. We are encouraged to “keep hope alive”, but it feels like hope has long been pronounced dead and is laying in a grave in some forgotten cemetery.
I can imagine that this may have been how Elijah’s servant was feeling. They were in the 3rd year of drought and famine (1 Kings 18:1-2), with no indication of when the situation would change. The fields were dry and bare, and the livestock malnourished and near dead, if not already dead. And it is in the midst of this DRY and DEAD situation that God sends Elijah to prophesy that the DROUGHT will end. There are some critical life lessons from this passage that I don’t want you to miss:
1. God’s declarations over your life will often contradict your present dilemma.
Elijah’s servant was being told that rain was coming, but all he saw around him was desolation and barrenness. This tells us that we can’t get too attached to what our natural eyes see, because God is able to speak the very opposite of our reality into existence. It doesn’t matter what it looks like, feels like, or how it has always been – when God says “I’m about to change something in your life”, start looking for the manifestation! We know we can trust His Word because it’s His “Let There Be” from Genesis 1 that continues to hold our universe in place today. His Word has sustaining and life-giving power!
2. Elijah didn’t have to go look himself.
When you are assured of the Word that God has given you, you’re not preoccupied with trails of evidence. Elijah sent his servant to look because the servant needed to see, in order to believe. Taking it a step further, I’d argue that Elijah’s very posture (bent down with head between his knees – vs 42) was indicative of his expectation of rain. Catch that!
3. Sometimes it may take up to seven times.
Elijah told his servant to go up and look for rain “seven more times” (vs 43) before he saw anything. Recognize that God sometimes causes us to repeat actions that seem purposeless, to literally put our faith in action. Each time that servant went to look, was an act of faith that was building and preparing him for what God was about to do. Don’t get discouraged or frustrated by the things you’ve had to repeat… they’re flexing your faith muscles and preparing you for a blessing that you will not have room to receive!
4. It may not look like what you’re expecting.
After praying like crazy for something to happen, we have an image in our minds of what it should look like when it comes to pass. This may cause us to miss what God is doing. The Bible says all the servant saw was a small cloud (the size of a man’s hand – vs 44); it never said he felt or even saw rain. But that small cloud was enough to confirm that God was about to do what He said He would (vs 45).
In this season, you’re just going to have to take God at His Word! It may not happen at the time you expect it to or in the way you expect it to, but if He promised you rain, then expect rain! At times we treat God like we know Him to be a liar or like He has never come through for us before. It’s time to truly trust what He’s spoken over your life; and His Word for you in this season is – “Go Look Again!”
Prayer: Lord, we thank You in advance for the rain of Your presence and power! Back in Genesis 1, everything You spoke into existence was immediately formed. Help us to recognize that You are that SAME God; and that even though the manifestation may be delayed, You’ve already done what You said You would. Help us to trust You in this season, regardless of what our natural eyes see. We assume Elijah’s position in the Spirit today – head buried between our knees – anticipating a torrential downpour in our lives. Thank You for the formation of the clouds even now. Drench us we pray. Amen.