Saturday, May 3, 2014

Heeerrrreee's Your Sign

Don't you love those ‘Here’s you sign’ jokes?  Like when the man lost his luggage and went to the lost luggage counter. He told the lady the airline had lost his luggage and she asked, “Well, has your plane landed?”  She had her sign but she missed it.

I love the story about Elijah for several reasons, but especially because of the sign that he did not miss.  Elijah was an ordinary man who did many extraordinary things for God. One of the most amazing is when he called down fire from heaven, and God rained the fire down and consumed Elijah’s offering in front of the false prophets of Baal, King Ahab, and all the people. It was an epic duel on the top of Mt Carmel.
After that awesome display, Elijah was not through. The people of Israel had not had rain in 3 ½ years, because of their idolatry and lack of belief. After God rained down the consuming fire, the people cried out “The Lord, He is God!”  So, because of their belief, Elijah went to the top of Mt Carmel and began to pray for rain.
Elijah knelt down on the ground, and put his face between his knees and prayed to the God of the universe to send rain on the earth. When he was finished he asked his servant to go and look out toward the ocean and see if there was any rain. Nope. Only sunny skies. Elijah prayed again. And again he sent his servant to go and look to see if there was any sign of rain. Nothing. Elijah did this seven times. He kept praying for God to send rain, and he kept sending his servant to see if his prayers had been answered.
How long would Elijah have kept praying? All day? All night? God told Elijah he would send rain, He just didn’t say when. Then, out of the clear blue sky, the servant sees a small cloud, the size of a man’s hand. Very small. Very far in the distance.
Elijah jumped up and ran to tell the king! He was so excited. He told the king that a torrential downpour was coming, and that the king should race his chariot back to the palace before the floods prevented him.
Elijah got excited before even a drop of rain fell. All he saw was a wee small cloud in the distance. That was enough of a sign for him. No rain. No thunder. No dark sky. How could Elijah be so certain the rain would come?   Faith.  Not faith in faith, but faith in God.  God told him he would send rain, and all Elijah needed was a tiny distant cloud to know that his prayer had been answered.
As believers we are called to a life of faith. We have been adopted into the family of Abraham, and he is one of the pillars of faith. God told him to leave his homeland and travel with his family to a foreign land that God would show him. Abraham had no idea where he was going. But he had faith in God, and so he followed Him.
Noah had never seen a boat before, or rain. Yet, he had faith in God, that when God told him to build a huge boat, he did it. For 120 years he built the boat.
We would prefer to have a sign from God, wouldn’t we? The burning bush that Moses saw would be great. When God parted the Red Sea for the Hebrew people to cross over, they had faith, but they also had a sign. A giant ocean parting down the middle so they could walk on dry land was a huge sign. When we are trying to make a decision about which way to go next, wouldn’t it be great to have a special cloud during the day and a cloud of fire at night to guide us step by step to the next place we should go?
Sometimes we have to walk completely by faith, without seeing anything, trusting God that we are going the right direction. Sometimes we get a huge sign, or an open door, that we know we are supposed to go through. But sometimes, all we get is a tiny cloud the size of a fist, far off in the distance. And we ask,  “Is that you Lord? Or am I making this up?”  
Unlike the comedian who tells the ‘here’s your sign’ jokes, we don’t always know what our sign from God is. We are looking for a huge billboard sign, and sometimes, God gives us a little tiny cloud, in the distance, and we have to trust that is our sign and act on it.
Faith is the strong belief or trust in someone or something. Believing something we can’t always see. Sometimes we are busy looking for the burning bush from God, or as my friend says, a sticky note from God, that we miss the small distant cloud. Our sign may be small, but that is part of the faith process.

Next time you are praying for something, take time to look for the small sign from the Lord. Have faith that He will reveal His plan for you.

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