Elijah the prophet was a man of great faith.
Eager to Pray
We are told in Scripture that he earnestly prayed that the sky would withhold its rain for three and a half years—and for three and a half years it did not rain (James 5:17-18; 1 Kings 17:1). Drought, of course, was one of the judgments God promised to unleash on Israel if they broke His laws and forsook Him (Deuteronomy 28:23-24).
Well, after Elijah’s challenge to the prophets of Ba’al—in which God answered by fire, proving Himself to be the living God—the people of Israel turned to the Lord whole-heartedly (1 Kings 18:36–40). Therefore, it was time for the rains to return to water the thirsty land.
Elijah climbed to the top of Mount Carmel put is head between his knees and prayed fervently that rain would come. He sent his servant to go stand watch and look for any sign of a cloud. There was none. Like every other day for the last three and a half years, not even a speck of cloud appeared. Elijah prayed again. Still no change. Elijah prayed a total of seven times and only after the seventh time his servant looked and reported, “There’s a tiny could, only the size of a man’s hand, rising from the sea.”
That was all Elijah needed to hear. “Quick, tell King Ahab to race back to his palace—for there’s going to be a fierce rainstorm.” And, within the hour the sky grew black with clouds and the rain began to fall in torrents (1 Kings 18:41–46).
You know, for most of us, “one tiny cloud” of proof isn’t enough to convince us that God will answer our prayers. We need the whole sky black with clouds before we’ll begin to believe. And even then, with the sky ready to burst with a flood, we’ll wonder to ourselves, “Will it really rain? Maybe something will go wrong!” Our faith is so puny that we simply cannot believe the great and unfailing love God has for us.
Therefore, I’d like to share a few “hand-sized clouds” to assure you that God will answer those prayers to protect and care for you and your loved ones. These are all cases of miraculous survival. Some of them are a little disturbing.
Harrison Okene, a devout man of faith, served as a cook aboard the tugboat Jascon 5. In the middle of the night during a murderous storm, his ship capsized and sank taking the lives of all hands except one—his. Harrison, of all places, was trapped in the bathroom in a ship turned upside down more than 100 feet below the surface. For three days Harrison prayed for deliverance and quoted Scriptures to bolster his faith. Then, a salvage diver found and rescued him.
Railway worker Truman Duncan from Texas, was riding on the front of a locomotive when he lost his grip and fell on top of the rails. His body was literally cut in half at the waist—with only one leg still attached by a single muscle. Yet Truman clung to life and survived his ordeal.
In 1972 Vesna Vulovic was a flight attendant aboard a jetliner soaring 33,000 feet above Czechoslovakia. At that altitude a bomb in the luggage compartment exploded and blasted the plane to bits. Of the 28 passengers and crew, only she survived—both the blast and the 33,000-foot fall.
Salvador Alvarenga and his partner, Ezequiel Córdoba, were Mexican fishermen by trade, making a modest living on their small, open boat. In November 2012 they headed out into the deep waters of the Pacific. At 15 miles from shore their outboard motor quit just as a squall lashed them and drove them far out to sea. For the next 438 days (14 and a half months), Salvador managed to survive on rainwater, sea turtles, and sea birds. Though his partner lost the will to live and perished, Salvador survived the long trial at sea.
Ron Hunt, of Truckee, California, was standing atop a 12-foot ladder, drilling a hole in a surface above. When he lost his balance, he immediately let go of the industrial drill with its 18-inch drill bit. He fell face down onto the upright, and still operating, drill. The long bit penetrated his right eye and exited out the back of his head, behind his right ear. Miraculously, the drill did not penetrate his brain, but merely “pushed it aside.” He lost his right eye, but suffered no other long-term effects.
This might sound like an incident from a science-fiction movie, but it really happened. In 1978 scientist Anatoli Bugorski was checking some malfunctioning equipment in a particle accelerator, when a deadly particle beam shot him through the head from behind and out through his nose. Instead of blasting his skull apart, the accident only paralyzed one side of his face, leaving him wrinkle-free on that side.
And then there’s Matthew Croucher, a Soldier of the British Royal Marines serving in Afghanistan in 2008. When a grenade was tossed into the fighting position he and his buddies shared, Matthew selflessly threw himself on top of it to shield his fellow Marines. The force of the explosion sent Matthew flying across the room. But, with the exception of a bloody nose, neither he nor his comrades were harmed.
And since we’re on the topic of Soldiers, let’s not forget one very important man from America’s early history. In the Braddock Campaign of 1755, he had two horses shot from under him, had every button from his coat shot off, had his hat shot full of holes (he even combed shreds of lead from his hair that evening), and was the only one of 86 officers who was not killed or injured—all in a single battle. In the American Revolutionary War this same Soldier would routinely find himself in the most harrowing situations, “but the bullets, although they tore his clothes and killed his horses, never touched his body.” Who was that man? George Washington.
So, do you really think your life is so fragile when God keeps you safe in the hollow of His almighty and all loving hand? Meditate on Psalm 91 and Psalm 121 before you answer. God will guard your life and the lives of your loved ones. He’ll do whatever it takes to sustain your faith and to preserve your soul. And even if the worst happens, God will be with you to absorb the shock, bear your pain, and fill your heart with a peace that is beyond human comprehension (Philippians 4:7). Start trusting God to take care of you and those you love. Don’t wait for the sky to be filled with signs that an answer is on its way. Believe in God–now.
Dear Father in heaven, please forgive me for my lack of faith in a God who has proven Himself faithful, true, almighty, and loving. Into Your capable and loving hands I commit myself and those I love. Amen.
(Information from: http://www.grunge.com/61512/people-survived-impossible/s/harrison-okene-2/; http://www.grunge.com/61512/people-survived-impossible/s/truman-duncan-2/?utm_campaign=clip; http://www.grunge.com/61512/people-survived-impossible/s/vesna-vulovic/?utm_campaign=clip; http://www.grunge.com/61512/people-survived-impossible/s/salvador-alvarenga/?utm_campaign=clip; http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/story?id=124814&page=1; http://www.grunge.com/61512/people-survived-impossible/s/anatoli-bugorski-2/?utm_campaign=clip; http://www.grunge.com/61512/people-survived-impossible/s/matthew-croucher/?utm_campaign=clip; James Thomas Flexner, Washington: The Indispensable Man, New York, Signet Books, 1984, p. 34)