Tuesday, March 29, 2016
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Denise moved to New Jersey to join our ministry team from Florida. Hello, climate shock! Now she grew up in Detroit, so winter wasn't exactly a new idea to her. But her last years in Florida showed her there was another way to live, like not having winter. It was in the early days of April when she came into a team meeting with this big smile on her face because of something she had seen over the weekend – a robin.
You're probably saying, "Didn't I see him in Batman." Not that kind! The bird; the kind that you see when spring is coming! She told us, "I really don't like winter. I never have. But all those years in those winters in Michigan, I looked for one great sign of hope that winter was almost over – that first robin!" Well, she's back to winters again, and that old excitement about what that first robin means!
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Hope for Your Unanswered Prayer."
Maybe the word "winter" could describe what you've been experiencing lately, no matter what the thermometer says. It's been a cold time, a long time, a slowed down time, a dark, hard time. You might be encouraged by what happened to the prophet Elijah in our word for today from the Word of God which is in 1 Kings 18. For him, it wasn't a winter, it was a drought. For three years the land of Israel had been under the judgment of God and there had not been a drop of rain.
It was just after Elijah's incredible showdown with 450 false prophets. "And Elijah said to King Ahab, 'Go eat and drink for there is the sound of a heavy rain.' So Ahab went off to eat and drink, but Elijah...bent down to the ground and put his face between his knees." He was talking to God about sending rain and the sky was cloudless. It had been cloudless for three years.
"'Go and look toward the sea,' he told his servant and he went up and looked 'There is nothing there,' he said." Maybe like you, Elijah is looking for an answer that so far isn't coming. But don't give up. "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.'" Not much, but a small sign. Like Denise's robin. It's not exactly 60 and 70 degree days but it's a small sign that they're going to come.
"So Elijah said, 'Go and tell Ahab, Hitch up your chariot and go down before the rain stops you.'" Now, that's a statement of faith based on only a little evidence of a change. It sure didn't look like there was any rush to beat a rainstorm. But, like so many who received a miracle in the Bible, you start to live as if the miracle is coming before it does. God loves to respond to that kind of faith.
The Bible says, "Meanwhile, the sky grew black with clouds, the wind rose, a heavy rain came on and Ahab rode off." Or, to put it in the context of your winter, it may only be one robin, but it's time to start living like God's spring is coming! He wants to encourage you today. Don't give up! Don't retreat! Don't stop believing that He is going to do something amazing.
God will often reward your faith with an early sign of what He is eventually going to do. So don't focus on the drought, focus on that one small cloud that comes before the rainstorm. Don't focus on the winter; focus on that one small robin that encourages you that spring will ultimately replace this long, cold season.
Look for the early signs of God's working. It's not the whole spring yet, but it's His encouragement to you that it is not going to be cold forever!