(1 Kings 16-18, John 1:29-51)
… And Elijah went up to the top of Mount Carmel. And he bowed himself down on the earth and put his face between his knees. (1 Kings 18:42)
There are moments of fire, the “suddenlies” of God, where we cry out and the God of the universe answers with such power that every knee bows. These are holy moments to be sure. Elijah called down such heavenly fire, and in a moment Israel turned back to the Lord. Hallelujah! Praise God.
The “suddenlies” of God preach well. But just like Elijah, we will not be trained by holy moments only. We will be trained up in the process. Elijah left that fiery altar, where he defied Baal and his false prophets, only to look out over a cloudless sky and call for rain. God could have sent the rain suddenly, ending Israel’s 3.5 year drought. Instead he called Elijah into the process. Elijah put his head between his legs, like a woman in labor, and he prayed. Not once. Not twice. The scriptures say Elijah prayed 7 times, until a cloud the size of a mans hand appeared.
There are moments when the God of fire answers suddenly. We rejoice in these moments. There are also divine invitations into partnership, which require endurance. This is holy labor. Whether suddenly, or through the contending process, don’t let go of the word of the Lord. Our God hears us, and He will act.