I bought family Christmas Jammies. You know the kind that the whole family wears. Cute little matching sets. I got one for each member of the family! They’re red and black plaid fuzzy pants and white shirts with red checked letters. I’ve bought matching pajamas before but this year was different.
This year I stood in the store red faced and puffy eyed from crying in the car barely thirty minutes before. 2019 hasn’t been our hardest year, but it has had its challenges. The hardest part has come as the end of the year draws near and we are still waiting for that next little one to join our family. Missing the little ones that we carried and lost before we were ready. Hanging the stockings and knowing that there should be one more on the mantle. Last year my husband and I stood by the tree arm in arm and said with confidence “this time next year we will have three here”.
I walked by the rack three or four times before I finally stopped to pick some out. I searched through sale rack and found one for daddy, one for mommy, one for sister and one for brother. I stood still and chewed on my lip for a minute. I dove back in and reemerged with another smaller set. One labeled 12months. I held them in my hands and stroked the soft fabric. I took a deep breath and placed them in the cart next to the other four….
In 1st Kings chapter 18 Elijah prayed for rain. He prayed the first time and sent his servant out to look for clouds in the sky. The servant returned and said “I didn’t see anything”. Elijah persisted, undeterred, time and time again Elijah sent his servant to search the sky and each time the servant returned with the same answer; “no clouds, no rain”. But Elijah knew Gods promise to end the famine, he knew rain was coming despite the sunny empty sky. He pressed on, fervently praying for rain. Elijah knew what the Lord had promised! He prayed again and sent his servant out to scan the sky. He returned and said “There is a cloud, as small as a mans hand rising out of the sea!” Elijah told him to go tell Ahab that a huge rain storm was coming!
Can you imagine? Hearing “no” and not seeing the rain, time after time after time? I don’t know about you, but it’s been tough to hear “not yet” and “no” so many times. It’s enough to allow some doubt to creep in, just a little whisper of “maybe I didn’t hear him correctly” “maybe the rain isn’t actually coming”. But Elijah didn’t just have a word from God, he also had hope. Not just any hope though, hope in the Lord.
A hope that wasn’t deterred by empty skies and wasn’t dependent on what he could see. It was an expectant anticipatory hope. A hope that believed that even though there was no evidence of rain, the Lord could and would make it happen. A hope that trusted that the teeny weeny rain cloud was all God needed to bring a down pour. A hope that knew “I don’t see anything” didn’t mean no, it just meant not yet. He had put his hope in the Lord.
All too often we place our hope in the things we can see, touch or hear. I know I do this at times and when those things don’t look like feel like or sound like what I was expecting it can be tough to continue hoping. But if I can put my hope in the Lord and His ability, even though I may not be able to see the cloud or smell the rain, I can know without a doubt that it is coming! Maybe not the first time or the fourth or the thirtieth, but one day, we will see our prayer answered!
I looked at the little pile of pajamas and smiled. These ones aren’t for this year, but they are for next year or maybe the next. For our next Christmas; the one where we will be a family of five. No we haven’t been chosen by a family yet. On the contrary, we’ve heard “I’m sorry, but you weren’t chosen” multiple times this year. These pajamas are my rain boots and umbrella on a clear sunny day. They’re my little spec of a rain cloud. They are tangible proof that I’m putting my hope in the Lord.