I love the sound of a storm.
We live in southern Missouri, which is vulnerable to tornadoes. In my 52 years I’ve never actually seen one, but have been on the outskirts of several, watching the sky turn black and the trees go sideways from the incredible wind, feeling the rain and sometimes even hail.
My wife and I are those weirdos who stand on the porch watching the storm unfold. It’s fascinating, honestly.
The Bible tells us in 1st Kings chapter 18 that a drought hit the land of Israel hard. The Prophet Elijah had a rough history with King Ahab (long but fascinating story you can read about in 1st Kings, if you like), and in fact had just embarrassed him in front of his countrymen. Elijah could’ve mocked or gloated, but instead, he warned the King of what he felt was a coming storm:
“Elijah said to Ahab, ‘Go up, eat and drink, I hear the sound of a rainstorm.’” 1st Kings 18:41
Now that was a bold statement to make in a drought, don’t you think? There wasn’t even a cloud in the sky, which is evidenced in the coming verses.
Elijah prayed once, and sent his servant to check if it was raining yet. After this bold man of faith, this revered prophet of the living God, prayed once, an unexpected storm blew up, right?
Verse 43 says Elijah said to his servant, “Go up and look toward the sea (on a higher elevation, looking for rain).” The servant went and looked, and came back and said, “I see NOTHING.”
Many of us would’ve given up at that point, figuring either it wasn’t God’s will or He was angry with us for some reason, ignoring our prayers. But not Elijah.
Chapter 18 says he prayed seven times, and I have the feeling these weren’t 30-second petitions. After pleading with the Lord, he once more sent his servant to check if there was rain, but instead of a “yes,” the servant said, “I see a cloud the size of a man’s hand (verse 44).”
Not black clouds, not even a sprinkle, but a seemingly insignificant cloud the size of a man’s hand! That’s it. Crazy thing is, Elijah took this as a sign. He didn’t give up or get discouraged. Instead, he sent a message to the King: “Get your chariot ready and go down so the rain doesn’t stop you (Verse 44).”
Most would’ve been like, “Rain? What rain? There is no rain! It’s not even misting, bro! What the heck?”
But Elijah had been visualizing an answer to his prayer this whole time, and took the cloud as proof the Lord was getting ready to respond!
Sure enough, in verse 45 we read, “In a little while, the sky grew dark with clouds and wind, and there was a downpour.”
Now THAT’S faith.
You might be struggling with depression (as I have for many years, though it’s been worse lately). You might be fighting anxiety, so bad you’re afraid to go out in public. Perhaps your battle is with negativity, self-hate or chronic pain (me, me, me). Some might even be struggling with an abusive friend or family member. Well, I’d LOVE to tell you this problem will go away if you pray seven times, as it did with Elijah, but the fact is we live in a broken world where the law of sin rules. This means STRUGGLE and TOIL. This means PAIN and GRIEF. This means DARKNESS and, for some of us, DEPRESSION.
But we don’t have to take this lying down. We don’t have to sink deeper into the mire of helplessness, hopelessness and defeat.
“For I can do everything through Christ, Who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13 (emphasis mine)
Not SOME things, everything!
I’d like to challenge you to start visualizing an answer to your prayers today. Don’t just lie there, suffocating in your misery; FIGHT! Go to war with the darkness, utilizing the light of love, laughter and prayer. It’s time to stop wallowing in the mud! The way I figure it, we can wake up every day feeling defeated, or we can seek help. We can battle the darkness, or we can give up.
You keep praying. You’re better than defeat and death. You’re in a drought now…
But wait, what’s that I hear? I think it’s the sound of a rainstorm!
Do you see the cloud? There…right there…far in the horizon! It’s the answer to your prayers, and it’s coming!
God has not abandoned you. Just because you don’t see His hand moving doesn’t mean He isn’t trying to send you assistance. This help may come from a friend, pastor, family member or even within yourself, but it’s time for you to REFUSE the evil which is trying to swallow you up. You can’t give up now, not when relief can be obtained.
Not when victory is within your grasp.
You’re stronger than you know, and God DOES hear and answer prayer.
“Lord, you know the hopes of the helpless. Surely you will hear their cries and comfort them.” Psalm 10:17
“’Lord, help!’ they cried in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He calmed the storm to a whisper and stilled the waves. What a blessing was that stillness as He brought them safely into harbor!” Psalm 107:28-30
“Before they even call out to Me (says the Lord), I will answer them; before they’ve finished telling Me what they need, I’ll have already heard.” Isaiah 65:24 (parenthesis added for clarification)
I challenge you to be a warrior and stand up to the devil and the dark in the mighty name of Christ! That blessed name which makes demons quake in their boots. Start believing, start praying, start visualizing the rainstorm, and don’t QUIT until a cloud appears in the empty sky, no matter how big.
This small cloud might mean a drug-addicted child showing up at our door for lunch one day, after being gone for months. THAT’S A CLOUD! Even if they turn around and leave again, see this cloud as a sign that a rainstorm is coming.
The devil would love nothing more than for us to be discouraged and give up, which is why it’s more important now than ever to FIGHT! For example, let’s say you started your diet, get on the scales and see you’ve only lost four pounds. “Only four,” you mutter, but THAT’S A CLOUD! It may only be the size of your hand, but instead of being discouraged, see it as a sign of the coming storm.
As Pastor Craig Groeschel said in his sermon yesterday, victory isn’t achieved “someday,” it’s earned EVERY DAY, in the small things.
If you’ve been struggling with depression and woke up this morning with even a smidgen of hope, THAT’S A CLOUD! Hold on to it, even when the troubles of the day crowd your mind. Seek LIGHT, not darkness, and don’t be afraid to walk away from that which brings you down.
We must begin to visualize the rain, and don’t let go of the vision. Some prayers are answered in an hour, some in a year and some in a decade, but the answer will ONLY come if we steel ourselves to hold on until it does come.
Feel free to leave a comment below with your needs, and I’ll be happy to prayer for you, my friend.
And be careful, pretty soon you might just hear the sound of a rainstorm in the distance.