The Lord works in mysterious ways, and his power is made manifest in many different ways. One thing that is certain from this verse and its context, though, is that the greater the evil, the more powerful God is made manifest in the world. Look here:
Elijah from Tishbe, who was one of the settlers in Gilead, said to Ahab, “As surely as the Lord lives, Israel’s God, the one I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain these years unless I say so.”
This is how Elijah the Prophet is introduced to us. He is not the first prophet in the the Books of Samuel or Kings. There was Nathan, Gad, Ahijah and Jehu, but Elijah is the only one who has miracles accompany his prophetic works. In fact, Elijah will become known as the greatest of the prophets because of the mighty deeds done through him by God.
But why now? Why does God make his power manifest in this manner now through Elijah? Look at how spiritually dark things have gotten in Israel. Jeroboam, the Lord’s chosen instrument of judgment on Solomon’s legacy of idol worship, has proven to be worse than Solomon ever was. So Jeroboam’s household is wiped out and replaced. Baasha, who destroyed Jeroboam’s dynasty, is even worse and his household is wiped out. Zimri, who destroyed Baasha’s dynasty, is even worse and is killed. Omri, who killed Zimri, is worse yet. Finally Ahab, Omri’s son, is the worst of all, even going so far as to build a great temple for Baal and worshiping that god to the exclusion of the Lord. In each one of these reigns, which lasted 62 years before Ahab took the throne, Israel moved further and further away from the Lord and looked more and more like the nations Israel was sent to destroy because of their detestable actions (such as human sacrifice). Things have gotten so dark that the Lord sent a powerful prophet to be used by him to show Israel that, just as the prophet’s name means, their God is the Lord.
I find this very comforting. It reminds me that no matter how beaten down the Church may get, the Lord will raise up someone to make his power manifest once again. What is equally comforting is the fact that Elijah could only do any of this in the power of the Holy Spirit, the very same Spirit that lives in every Christian believer.