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The story of Elijah, in a period of great drought sending his servant to see if there were any clouds in the sky. How he prayed and prayed and on the seventh time the servant came back and said, "there ariseth a little cloud out of the sea, like a man's hand." I Kings 18:43.
I see the picture in my child's Bible of the servant standing on a cliff looking out over the ocean and seeing a tiny, hand-shaped cloud in the blue, blue sky.
I've been thinking of that Bible story alot lately, because I have found myself, like the servant, searching the sky for the tiniest sign of a cloud. For some sign that the heat is coming to an end.
I love Summer, and I've loved that this summer has been so hot and warm - which is lovely when you are on holiday at the beach and can swim in the ocean everyday and sit in the relief that comes from trade winds blowing off the sea, but when you live in town, with no air-conditioning and the trees and the grass are dying, and the flowers are wilting, and your dog drinks his bowl of water faster than you've ever seen him do before, when the children don't get to sleep until around 9pm every night and that's only with the help of a fan running all night, and when the farmers are crying out for rain.... that is when I find myself praying for rain too.
And I find myself searching the sky for rain.
Nope. No clouds. No rain coming in the North.
Nope, no clouds and no rain coming from the south, either.
And no clouds, or sign or rain in the east or west either. Just the hot, hot sun beating down on us.
It is so hot, and even though today is the first day of Autumn there is no sign of let-up in the heat and the intense, day-after-day scorching of the earth.
And so I go out and look hopefully up into the sky for the smallest sign of rain.