No rain. That was the word that Elijah gave to King Ahab in 1 Kings 17:1. In fact, there ended up being a total of three and a half years of no rain. Living in the Carolinas over the past few years, I have been a part of very little rain and the repercussion of it affects everyone.
In 1 Kings 18 the story picks up “After a long time, in the third year, the word of the Lord came to Elijah: “Go and present yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the land.” So Elijah went to present himself to Ahab. You really got to hand it to Elijah for his quick obedience here. Ahab’s wife, Jezebel had been killing the Lord’s prophets and Elijah was sure to be at the top of her list since he was the messenger for the drought. He put aside what would have surely been his fear of death and set out to deliver his second message to King Ahab. His greeting from the king was less than warm, “Is that you, you troubler of Israel?” Elijah continued to be bold, “I have not made trouble for Israel, but you and your father’s family have. You have abandoned the Lord’s commands and have followed the Baals.” After a mind-blowing miracle where God showed up and proved He was the Lord, the time for the rain to come drew near. Elijah informed the king that he should go, eat and drink for there is the sound of a heavy rain. “but Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel, bent down to the ground and put his face between his knees.” You see, there were no clouds in the sky. No swirling of wind to indicate that rain was on the way. Elijah spoke what he had heard His Father say and was speaking in faith.
As Elijah prayed, he asked his servant to look toward the sea; hoping to see rain clouds. Nothing on the horizon. Yet, Elijah’s prayers did not waver. In fact, seven times Elijah kept telling his servant to go back and look again. Finally on the seventh time, the servant saw a cloud “as small as a man’s hand rising from the sea.” So Elijah said, “Go and tell Ahab, ‘Hitch up your chariot and go down before the rain stops you.” And then it poured!
When I read this passage in my time with the Lord, Elijah’s persistence in prayer challenged me. The Lord had given him a word and he believed, even though there was no evidence in sight that it would come to pass. As he prayed, he looked. He looked for evidence that God was at work and the thing that He promised to do He would.
What is the thing in your life that you have received a promise from the Lord for? Do you have a wild child that you are trusting the Lord to draw him to Himself? “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not return from it” Proverbs 22:6 (NIV) Do you have a spouse that has not yet surrendered to Jesus? “Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives.” 1 Peter 3:1 (NIV) Do you believe that He has a purpose and calling for your life that you are pursuing, while at the same time, waiting for Him to open doors? Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” We have these promises. We have His word to us. Now we need to follow Elijah’s lead: pray and look for the answer to come.
I think it is very interesting that the number of times that Elijah prayed and actively looked for the answer was twice the number of the drought years. Here is where Galatians 6:9 comes in “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (NIV) The praying and in faith looking can take time; sometimes a long time and the signs that we are looking for might not be there. Our child may continue to be rebellious and cold toward God. Our spouse may be distant from us or running in the opposite direction of the Lord. Our dreams of the future may appear to be going nowhere. But we can trust, that in due season, we will see the rain cloud on the horizon, if we do not grow weary and faint!