When you see that small cloud, start running!
The cloud was small, insignificant. Seven times Elijah prayed and that’s all he got from God. How could such a small cloud quench three years of severe drought and famine? The land was parched; the rivers were dried up; the wells were empty. What’s a small cloud going to accomplish given the magnitude of the problem? After all that prayer, after all that waiting upon God, after all that expectation and hope… a small cloud the size of a man’s fist in the distant horizon?
1 Kings 18:41-44
And Elijah said to Ahab, “Go, eat and drink, for there is the sound of a heavy rain.” 42 So Ahab went off to eat and drink, but Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel, bent down to the ground and put his face between his knees. 43 “Go and look toward the sea,” he told his servant. And he went up and looked. “There is nothing there,” he said. Seven times Elijah said, “Go back.” 44 The seventh time the servant reported, “A cloud as small as a man’s hand is rising from the sea.” So Elijah said, “Go and tell Ahab, ‘Hitch up your chariot and go down before the rain stops you.’” NIV
God always uses small things to bring great victories. He uses little things to announce big changes. He takes that which is insignificant to accomplish mighty things. His ways are different from our ways. His methods don’t often make sense to us but one thing is sure: when you see that small cloud, if you know anything about God, you’d better start running because the floods will soon overtake you!
I don’t know what you are going through right now. Maybe you are expecting a breakthrough or believing God for victory in the face of impossible odds or holding on when all hope seems gone. You’ve cried out to God. You’ve fasted and prayed. And now all you see is a small, somewhat insignificant sign – a cloud the size of a man’s fist far in the horizon. Immediately your mind begins to think that God’s answer is too small for the problem you face, that it is not in proportion to the prayers you’ve prayed, not up to what you are expecting. But I tell you, when you see that small sign, start rejoicing because it means God has heard your prayers. When you see that small sign, start running by faith because God is moving; the answer is on the way; the rain is coming.
And don’t give up when you don’t see or hear anything but keep pressing on in faith. Elijah prayed seven times. Imagine what would have happened if he had given up on the fourth or fifth or sixth time because he did not see anything? He would have missed the rain. We have to keep pressing on in faith because the One we look to is faithful. And He said, “Call to me in the day of trouble and I will answer you.” That’s why Elijah could declare to Ahab that there was the sound of heavy rain before he even saw any evidence of it. He knew his God and spoke in faith. That’s the kind of faith that breaks the heavens open and brings down the rain.
God means for us to use Elijah as an example. In James 5:17-18 it says, “Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.”
The message is clear: God is saying to us that we have the same potential to achieve a breakthrough, to overcome impossible odds, to accomplish mighty things. So pray and starting running before the floods overtake you!