“He said to his servant, “Go up now, look toward the sea.” So he went up and looked and said, “There is nothing.” And he said, “Go back seven times.” It came about at the seventh time, that he said, “Behold, a cloud as small as a man’s hand is coming up from the sea.” And he said, “Go up, say to Ahab, Prepare your chariot and go down, so that the heavy shower does not stop you.'” In a little while the sky grew black with clouds and wind, and there was a heavy shower.” – 1 Kings 18:41-45
In 1985, Steven Spielberg brought to life Alice Walker’s book, “The Color Purple” and paved his way into history by directing one of the most iconic films ever to be made. While there are several places to quote from this great film, one comes to mind for this month. Harpo is busy renovating a new home for his family while multitasking for Sophia who just added to his load with a baby. Harpo asks the little boy “what do you want?” But the little boy didn’t come to ask for anything. He came to declare. He simply looks at the rubbish, and looks at Harpo to say “it’s ‘gon rain on your head!”
The prophet Elijah is no stranger to the miraculous. This is the same prophet who challenged 300 prophets of Baal by seeing whose God would send fire first. Elijah was not in the least bit concerned about the might of God. He had seen Him work time after time. His servant, however, wasn’t so sure. Ahab had seen many works of God, but this time it was different. It is always easy to pray for other’s issues, but when there is a dire need that affects everyone, it is hard to stay encouraged. Ahab wasn’t doubting God; what Ahab did was place his focus on the wrong thing.
There are specific things that I wanted to point out in the text. In verse 41, Elijah says he hears a mighty rainstorm coming. He doesn’t see anything but he hears it. From the very beginning Elijah is expecting to see results. Sometimes the only thing you have to keep you going is what you heard God say about your situation. Elijah prayed and sent his assistant out to check for results. This is not easy to do. Elijah prayed expecting the Lord to answer, but he also wanted his servant to see the result. Each time the assistant came back and said, “I didn’t see anything.” Isn’t it frustrating when you are expecting something but no one else can share in your excitement because they can’t see it? Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. It is not so much that Ahab needed to get glasses as much as he needed a spiritual hearing aid.
This repeated for six times. I don’t know how much time passed between each prayer and “I got nothing” but I do know one thing, Elijah stayed the course in his prayers. He didn’t give up. It is the effectual fervent prayers of the righteous that avail. You cannot stop praying for a thing because you don’t see it. Remember what you heard and keep expecting. Finally (vs. 44) the assistant went out and came back to say, “I saw a little cloud about the size of a man’s hand rising from the sea.” That’s all it took. I don’t know what you are praying for today and I don’t know if you are getting discouraged. It’s hard not to when we keep getting “nothing,” but I want to encourage you through the life and prayers of Elijah to keep praying. Keep looking. Keep expecting. Keep asking for just one small cloud to keep you going! Elijah’s God is your God and my God and He is the same yesterday, today and forever! So I’m praying for “one small cloud” to encourage us all! You are about to get a lot out of a little. April showers are happening all around your head! Get ready…I hear rain!
Cleo Dailey, III is a minister, freelance writer, and author who has written for several city and nation-wide publications. He is currently studying to obtain a degree in both English and Clinical Psychology in Peoria, IL.