28 October, 2010

Hang In There, and Go Back and Look Again

I met with someone this morning that was going through a bit of a struggle and having trouble “hanging in there” with their faith. (Haven’t we all been there?)  The issue they had is personal, and does not really pertain to what I’m writing about today. Just a brief note… but I simply want to remind us all, we need to persevere… to hang on, and keep hanging on. God does not always act when we want him to act. Sometimes we are left waiting… and that waiting is the hard part.
While I was talking with this person today, I was reminded of the story in 1 Kings 18. There had been three years of drought upon the land, and now Elijah has told King Ahab that the drought in the land was over and the rains were coming. After telling Ahab that the drought was over, Elijah took his servant and climbed up the mountain. Elijah took a seat on the ground and told his servant, "Go up now, look toward the sea." So he went up and looked, and said, "There is nothing." And seven times he said, "Go again." Then it came to pass the seventh time, he said, "There is a cloud, as small as a man's hand, rising out of the sea!" So he said, "Go up, say to Ahab, 'Prepare your chariot, and go down before the rain stops you.'" ...in the meantime...the sky became black...and there was a heavy rain...' (1 Kings 18:43-45) 
Pay particular attention to the portion of that scripture passage where Elijah said, 'Get up and go again.' Seven times he sent his servant back up to look again. Think on that a minute… seven times! How many of us would have said, “Look, I’ve climbed up this stinking mountain 4 times already! I’m done! It’s not happening, and I’m not wasting my time or energy! Do it yourself!”
The message is clear. We must persist!  One translation says, “Go back and look again.”  We have to keep going back to what God has promised us, and keep looking for what God says is coming!

Not long ago I greeted a woman and asked how she was doing. She told me that her back was really hurting. I replied that I knew that God could heal her back and take away her pain, and to my surprise she snapped back, “If he was going to do it, He’d have done it 20 years ago!” I told her that I was sorry I had asked, and said, “Without faith and expectation, that healing would never come.”  The thing is, things just don’t happen when we want them to happen. God does not always move the first time we ask… or even the seventh, or tenth. But we must keep going back.  If we don’t go back and “look again” we will miss what God wants us to possess or experience. Another point is that if we don't recognize and celebrate the small miracles 'the size of a man's hand' that come along the way, we will miss the bigger ones that are on their way.  I wonder how many times we have given up… stopped looking and did not go back, just before the break through or miracle we had been hoping for was ready to manifest itself in our lives. 

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