This morning is the sort of day where the light is crisp and the air refreshes and the promise of life is all around, but not quite visible yet.
This season of Lent is the waiting time. We know the end of the story. We are heading for Easter ….but we’re not there yet. I feel that that very much mirrors my own personal journey. I know the ultimate destination – with Christ. I really don’t know what lies ahead at all, and I will have to make some choices, but in this waiting time I am walking with Jesus as closely as I can.
Somehow I have connected with a group of women, mostly on the other side of theworld, with whom I am walking side by side through this Lent , and each day I am being encouraged, comforted and challenged by their words and collective desire to go deeper with the bible, and with Jesus, and with life.
Today my bible reading was about the prophet Elijah when he told King Ahab it would rain, and Ahab thought he was ridiculous (1 Kings 18 v 44-45). Finally a cloud the size of a man’s hand is seen rising from the sea. But it wasn’t Elijah who saw it – it was his servant. Why ? Because Elijah was ‘bent down to the ground with his face between his knees’. I’ve been in that position more than once in the last months. It’s a position of pain and despair and a desire to be as small and out of the way as possible, because to sit up and look at life is more than you can possibly handle at that moment. So Elijah curled on the ground and seven times sent his servant to look for a sign of rain. Perseverance, waiting, trust, faith, hope. Isolation, discomfort, desperation. Finally there it was – the smallest sign imaginable.
Elijah was at a moment between life and death – Ahab would have killed him in a blink if he had displeased him further. This cloud really mattered. It mattered so much that he was in no position to look for it, or see it when it was there. We can be in that place too, and that is when we need to put ourselves into community. We need cloud spotters in our lives. I am so grateful for those around me – friends from my childhood who know me and my heart and my head so well; friends who come into my house as they pass by because they know I need to hear that they can see a rain cloud; friends across the world who notice changes in my writing, and tell me that even though I’ve not recognized it yet the cloud is in the sky.
So this week – let’s be cloud spotters for one another.
And by the way, that tiny cloud turned into a dark sky and the rain fell and fell and soaked the parched land.