The Day of Small Things
The drought had stuck around for years. Water was scarce. People were dying from lack of food. But the prophet Elijah told the king he heard the sound of rushing rain. A shower was coming, he said. Then Elijah went up to the top of a mountain where he prayed to God facedown.
"Go up now," Elijah said to a servant, "look toward the sea."
The servant returned. "There's nothing."
Seven times later, the servant returned with news. "I saw a cloud the size of a man's hand, rising from the sea."
"And in a little while the heavens grew black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain.... And the hand of the LORD was on Elijah" (1 Kings 18:45–46).
I find this story pretty trippy. Soak it in for a minute. There's drought with no sign of rain. Elijah believes rain is going to come, so he tells the king to act as if it's coming. Then he runs to a mountain for alone time with God, where he asks for a good thunderstorm. Still, no sign of rain. Finally, a tiny cloud rises in the sky.
Every time I read this story, I notice something new. The first layer of the story is obvious. It's Elijah's faith. He believes God will bring rain, even when his circumstances point to drought. He puts everything on the line—his reputation with the king, his life (they killed prophets in those days when their prophecies didn't come true). He believes God, not his circumstances.
But there's a second layer to the story that I love. It goes even deeper on the subject of faith.
When Elijah asked God for rain, the first sign was a small, almost invisible cloud. A tuft of white the size of a man's hand floating over the sea would not be enough to grab one's attention ... unless you were actively looking for it. Only eyes seeing through the lens of faith could spot the potential of that cloud.
Theologian Matthew Henry noted from this story, "Great blessings often arise from small beginnings." He added, "Let us never despise the day of small things, but hope and wait for great things from it."
The day of small things. It's the day when no progress seems to be made; the day when life knots itself up until the threads seem impossible to untangle. That moment when you struggle alone, and no one but God knows how beaten you feel—that is a small moment. No one would notice it. You might not even want to remember it.
But take that same moment, and turn it upside down. Instead of examining it with human eyes, look at it in light of Christ's love. (Didn't He die for you? Do you think there is a single prayer you have uttered that He has not heard?) Think of it in terms of God's greatness. Didn't He use the world's worst scenario—the death of His Son—and make it end in life, resurrection, and your redemption? If He could do that, can't He make redemption come out of your life story, too?
Have the faith to see the wisp of white above the sea. God has been known to turn such small things into rainclouds.
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