It can sometimes be hard to see God moving in our lives. Jesus has promised that He has gone on to prepare a place for us and that His burden is easy and His yoke is light, but it doesn’t always feel that way. It can even seem sometimes like God isn’t hearing us. Our hearts can be heavy and dry, making us think our prayers are falling on deaf ears. Today’s first reading can help us with those feelings as we watch Elijah’s response to God’s promise that it will rain. It had been three years, six months since the water had fallen from the sky to water the drought-stricken land. Elijah never wavers in his faith that God will send the rain. He sends his servant to the top of the mountain to look, again and again. Seven times.
When we imagine ourselves in this situation sometimes, we are Elijah, simply trusting that God will provide. Other times we might be more like the servant, trudging up to look but coming down depressed and anxious because there are no signs that anything is changing. The number seven in scripture represents fullness. Completeness. The servant went up as many times as it took; he kept going until the signs were clear. All it took was a cloud the size of a man’s hand for Elijah to warn them that they needed to get moving or they would get caught in the downpour.
That’s the thing about prayer. Sometimes God gives us these mountain top moments where His presence is made abundantly clear, and we know He is with us. Other times, its’ that still small voice, the whisper on the wind, the small puff of rain cloud that promises that the abundant grace of God will pour out on us and those around us. It’s almost as if God is telling us through this scriptural image, “just keep swimming.” (Dory from Finding Nemo) Keep looking, even when nothing is happening around you. Keep praying not just once or twice, but as long as it takes. Seven times seven times. Then when you see that glimpse, that small storm cloud in the sky, rejoice! Be confident in the truth that God is answering your prayer and tell others to be ready because the water from Christ’s side will always produce a harvest beyond anything we could ever dare or hope to request from Him.
A homily for Thursday of the 10th Week in Ordinary Time: June 9th, 2022