Wednesday, November 2, 2016
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I have some great memories of ministering in South Africa some years ago. Got to reach some lost young people and their parents, and train youth leaders to reach young people as well. My schedule was really intense, but our Field Director and I managed to sneak away for a couple of hours in a wild game park. And the Lord of all those African creatures was really good to us, because He sent us zebras and rhinos and hippos, and many more of God's African best.
But our most unforgettable moment began when our driver said, "Whoa, that's fresh! Keep your eyes open for an elephant." Her "that's fresh", referred to a broken branch she saw in the middle of the little road we were on. Now, the staff member I was with and I were a little skeptical, but not for long. As we rounded a bend, there he was – a big old elephant lumbering down the road ahead of us. We followed behind him for a while and then we watched with ringside seats as he stepped off into a little pond, watered himself and sprayed himself. It was amazing! See, our driver saw just this little sign and knew that something really impressive was coming up!
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "God's Little Signs of His Something Big."
Now, God may very well be doing something big on the trail just ahead of you. You can't see it yet, but it's important to be able to see the little signs of "God's something big." That's part of what faith is all about.
Elijah had prayed that God would show His power in Israel by sending a three-year drought. In our word for today in 1 Kings 18, beginning in verse 42, we see why the Bible presents him as a man whose prayer was "powerful and effective" (James 5:16). Now he's praying for the drought to end. It says, "Elijah climbed to the top of Mount Carmel, bent down to the ground and put his face between his knees. '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.' 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 (the king), 'Hitch up your chariot and go down before the rain stops you.'" It hadn't rained for three years, but Elijah saw that little cloud and he said, "It's coming!"
Elijah kind of reminds me of our guide and driver there in that African game park. His eyes are wide open, looking for and expecting some early sign of the major work God was about to do. We saw a branch, and the one with the trained eye said, "Get ready for an elephant." Elijah's servant saw a little cloud, and Elijah, with his trained eye for God at work, said, "Get ready for a deluge."
So often, we are so focused on the "elephant" we're praying for that we miss the little branch in the road. We want that big thing from God – sometimes so much, that we miss the little things He is doing on the way to the big thing. Great faith includes the ability to look for and recognize the trail of God in your life; to be able to track the signs of what God is doing.
So I'd encourage you to open your eyes today for the wonderful things God is already doing around you – the little cloud that will enlarge your faith to expect the big rain, the little buds that will fuel your faith to expect the glory of spring. This winter will end.
A lot of times we are unnecessarily discouraged and disheartened because we don't see the tracks of God that are all over our day. I call them "God sightings". That's why praise is so important. A heart that is a praising heart is always looking around for God at work and regularly sending up praise. It may not be very large or not very dramatic, but there's God again, working in your life.
In Psalm 5:3, David says, "In the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation." The test of whether you have really trusted God in your prayer is whether or not you are expectant after you say "amen".
So right now, right where you are, there are little signs of God at work; the "branch" that says the "elephant" is ahead. Before God shows you the big things up ahead, He wants you to see Him in the little things that are right in front of you!