This morning, I read in 1 Kings 18 when God answers Elijah's prayers and ends the 3 1/2 year long drought. It's just after God has answered Elijah's prayers and sent down fire to consume the altar on Mount Carmel, demonstrating that the God is Israel is the true living God and Baal is no god at all. After this great display of power, after Elijah prays with his head and his knees to the ground, after Elijah's servant had looked toward the sea six times, on the seventh viewing, he reports a small cloud rising from the sea, Elijah urges the king to ride his chariot down off the mountain before the rain prevents him from leaving. The sky grows dark, the winds howl, and the heavy rain comes down. Elijah is seized by the power of God, he tucks his cloak into his belt, and he runs ahead of the king's chariot 16 miles back to the city! Maybe horses pulling chariots run slower than a man, maybe the terrain was rocky and easier for a man on foot to navigate than horses and chariots, but I believe that this "power of the Lord" was supernatural energy and strength and speed that allowed Elijah to run over a half marathon ahead of the king's chariot, with the heavy rain and storm chasing them from behind.
Leaving campus this afternoon, we saw dark clouds and heard distant rumblings of thunder. I quickly bid my companions goodbye and scurried to unlock my bike. I began pedaling quickly, anxious to make it home before the rain started. I heard a louder clap of thunder behind me, and started pedaling faster. As I found myself furiously biking through campus, I felt a little like Elijah, cloak tucked in, running ahead of the chariot, with the storm coming behind him. Most of me desperately wanted to make it home dry, but a small part of me hoped that the rain would beat me, and that I would be caught in the storm. As I began to imagine this, that desire in me grew. What could be more invigorating right now than this exhilarating ride to escape the rain than to actually be caught in the rain? To be pelted with water, powerless to stop it, unable to be dry until I reached the safety of my home, completely drenched? I did not lower my speed, but as I pressed on, I began to hope that the rain would win this race.
I was victorious. As I sit half an hour later at my dining room table writing this, the rain still has not come. I could feel silly, that I got so worked up about beating the rain that still hasn't arrived, but instead I feel grateful for a few minutes of excitement, for the reminder of God's power through nature's unpredictability, and the ability to feel alive and present.