“Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain….” (James 5:17) Wow can I relate to this! In Elijah’s case it had to do with God bringing both blessing and punishment on Israel for their wacky ways under the leadership of King Ahab. For me, it has to do with “enough rain already!” Like Elijah, I know the human frailties of my personality, the bouts of feeling down when the clouds are gray, and the desperation of “God, where are you!”
Last week my wife’s family all came out to New England to spend a wonderful week on a lake in Maine. And, needless to say, we had these expectations of sunny skies and warm weather. Instead, we got rain nearly every day and cold temps. My humanness was very disappointed. I had expectations and God didn’t deliver on them. Considering this was the first time that the entire family came from the Midwest to spend a well planned out week- a family reunion…couldn’t God stop the rain and send the sun? What’s up with that? After all I do for God as a pastor and as a faithful follower, shouldn’t it just work out the way my wife and I want it to? [Oh, by the way, to make matters seem a little more discouraging, I ended up in the ER with a Kidney stone midweek. Fun, huh?]
Actually, realistically, looking back- it was one of the best weeks we have had in a long time. We still enjoyed the lake, the beautiful lake homes we had rented, and mos of all- we enjoyed one another. It was a blessing to be together and talk and eat and pray together. The kids and adults hung out and played and rested and laughed. There was one very special night when we gathered together to talk about mom, who went to be with the Lord about a year ago. I have a feeling that she made sure we spent lots of time together last week. It was what she loved.
We made memories- great memories. The rain could not damper the love that was in that place all week.
Lots of times when people refer to this Scripture in James 5, they take it from the perspective that even though we are only human, we have this incredible authority to use the name of Jesus to get whatever we want. “We can pray that the rain stops, and it will,” is the thought. Maybe not. Maybe the real point is that like Elijah, we are human beings who serve a God that knows exactly what it is we really need. They needed famine back then, because God had to get their attention. Even Elijah needed the course correction of God out on the mountain when He met with him.
Last week, our family needed each other- rain or shine. And thank God we received this blessing from Him.