Summary: It is a word that reveals lack. It holds no element of promise. The need is apparent...the solution is not. Nothing. How do you live through the nothings?
Living Through The Nothings
Pt. 2 - Rain Man
It is one of my least favorite words. Nothing. It is a word that reveals lack. It holds no element of promise. It contains no ounce of hope. Let me see if I can explain.
You work for an hour on your car, you have sweat, blood and tears in the repair and you turn the key and nothing!
You get up early every morning strap on the running shoes, grit your teeth and run the miles you need to run. After a week you step on the scale and nothing!
You watch as everyone throws parties, buys gifts, and celebrates and then when it is your turn, your special occasion, your day there is nothing (and all the father's celebrating Mother's Day said . . . )!
The demand is there but the resource is not! The need is apparent the solution is not. A withdrawal is requested but there seems to be no funds. Energy is a must but the tanks are empty! Nothing in the cabinets. Nothing in the bank. Nothing in reserve. Relationship longed for but nothing. Nothing!
I hate the word. I hate the experience even more.
I wonder if maybe some of you are presently living through a nothing moment?
Expectations unmet? Dry when you expected oasis? Caring has become cursing. Wedding turned to war. Health lost to sickness. Healing only a desire. Nothing.
How do you live through that?
There are several "Nothing" accounts in Scripture that I think we would do well to examine and learn from. If all your dreams are coming to pass and life is all fairy tale endings for you, then you are not going to understand or need this series. But for the rest of us maybe this will provide some help if not hope.
Last week we dealt with the nothing experience that the disciples had. They were represented with the challenge to feed a hungry crowd and they had nothing. Jesus uses that situation to publicly expose their nothing so that they would have to rely on Him and on others around them. Then He exposes the lie of lack. The disciples had allowed the size of their need to overwhelm the truth of what they had to offer.
So let's go forward.
Text: 1 Kings 18:1, 42-46
A long time passed. Then God’s word came to Elijah. The drought was now in its third year. The message: “Go and present yourself to Ahab; I’m about to make it rain on the country.” Elijah set out to present himself to Ahab. The drought in Samaria at the time was most severe.
Meanwhile, Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel, bowed deeply in prayer, his face between his knees. Then he said to his young servant, “On your feet now! Look toward the sea.”He went, looked, and reported back, “I don’t see a thing.”“Keep looking,” said Elijah, “seven times if necessary.” And sure enough, the seventh time he said, “Oh yes, a cloud! But very small, no bigger than someone’s hand, rising out of the sea.”“Quickly then, on your way. Tell Ahab, ‘Saddle up and get down from the mountain before the rain stops you.’” Things happened fast. The sky grew black with wind-driven clouds, and then a huge cloudburst of rain, with Ahab hightailing it in his chariot for Jezreel. And God strengthened Elijah mightily. Pulling up his robe and tying it around his waist, Elijah ran in front of Ahab’s chariot until they reached Jezreel.
1 Kings 18:43 “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 scene is simple . . . the nation is in a drought due to the sin and idolatry of its leaders. Elijah the prophet has declared that there would be no rain and there has been nothing . . . not a single drop . . . for three long years. Now, after a head to head battle with 450 prophets of Baal, Elijah on the heels of his great victory now declares that the rain is about to come. Elijah goes into prayer he sends his servant to examine the horizon for the purpose of spotting rain (the first ever recorded storm tracker). But time and time again the servant comes back with the dreaded response . . . I see nothing! If I had been Elijah the servant would not have liked my response! Come on man my reputation as a prophet is on the line. Come on man my credentials are being questioned. Dude look harder people are beginning to laugh. 6 times the servant goes and 6 times he returns with nothing.
So what do you do when you expect to see something and instead you see nothing? What do you do when you expect a miracle and can't see any change? What do you do when you are holding onto a hope and it seems like you are wasting your time? Elijah teaches us three important lessons!