Cloud of Hope

What are you waiting for God to do in your life?  Are there prayers that seem unanswered or ignored by God?  Is He offering you small glimpses of hope that you’ve overlooked, misunderstood, or even taken for granted?

We live in a fast-paced society where we expect everything to happen right away.  Fast food delivered right to your door, instant communication without waiting for the mail to run, elevators that move more quickly than taking the stairs, overnight shipping…the list just goes on and on.  So much of what we do, or want, or even need can be done almost instantaneously, and we often forget the satisfaction of receiving a long awaited response.

In 1 Kings 18, Elijah is on top of the mountain after God had immediately answered his prayer for fire.  The Israelites had allowed the worship of other gods to separate them from the One true God. Elijah called a test between his God and Baal, the god of the sky. After hours of prayers, Baal failed to burn the offering.  Then Elijah said a short prayer, and God immediately caused a fire to consume the bull, the altar, and even the stones, which were all drenched in water.  After that instantaneous response, Elijah prayed for rain to end a three and a half year drought, but this prayer was not answered immediately.

Sometimes God answers “Yes” right away, and we are able to experience an undeniable miracle right before our eyes.  Other times His answer is “No”.  Maybe we’ve asked for something that is not in our best interest, or our desire does not match with His plan.  Then there are times when the answer is “Wait”.  Wait for rain, wait for healing, wait for answers.  God’s timing doesn’t always meet the instant satisfaction that We prefer, so we tend to grow discouraged when He doesn’t answer our prayers instantly. 

Notice what Elijah did when he didn’t receive an answer right away.  In verse 43, he sent a servant to look toward the sea for a sign of rain.  When there was no sign, he prayed again then sent the servant to look again.  It must have been frustrating after the miracle he had just witnessed when he prayed for fire, but Elijah did not give up.  He continued to pray, wait, and watch for God’s answer.  Seven times he prayed and sent the servant to look for a sign that rain was coming.

Finally, the servant reported, “A cloud as small as a man’s hand is rising from the sea” (1 Kings 18:44).  It wasn’t a sudden outpouring of rain, but it was the glimmer of hope that Elijah needed.  He knew that the rain was coming.  He knew God was answering his prayer!  It wasn’t immediate.  He still had to wait for it, but it was coming.  A cloud no bigger than a man’s hand was all the evidence Elijah needed to know that rain WAS coming.

Like you, I want instant satisfaction. I want immediate answers. More often than not, I’ve had to wait to God’s answer. But many times He has given me glimmers of hope.  Small hints of healing. A small cloud that is  God’s way of reminding us that He is still in control.  His answer may not be immediate, but He’s still at work in our lives.

When answers don’t come right away, don’t give up.  Continue to pray and keep watching.  Keep expecting to see His answer coming in the distance.  Keep watching for that small cloud of hope in the distance that indicates rain is coming!

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