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July 24, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“The fountains of the deep and the windows of the heavens were closed, the rain from the heavens was restrained, and the waters receded from the earth continually. At the end of 150 days the waters had abated, and in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat.”—Genesis 8:2–4 (ESV)
Waiting at a restaurant . . .
Waiting for your tax return . . .
Waiting for the doctor to see you . . .
Waiting for the wait to be over . . .
The anticipation of the good to come and relief from the waiting process reminds of me Tom Petty’s lyrics, “The waiting is the hardest part.” The Israelites wandering in the desert and hearing Noah’s story must have related a lot with the seemingly endless process of waiting for better things to come.
Societies can rapidly change, things come and go, but all humans since the beginning of time have shared the common experience of waiting. Noah’s family had to spend five months sitting around in their ark preparing meals, caring for animals, worshiping, praying, and hoping. What they initially felt toward the confining safety of the ark probably changed into a desire to escape, especially once the rain stopped. What do you think they talked about for five months? Every topic must have been exhausted and every story and joke told.
In their hearts, Noah’s family may have started to wonder if they would ever get off the ark. Would they have enough food to last? Could they survive the new world once they did escape? It’s these thoughts and fears that allow us to empathize with them. We all have aspirations, but also fears that life will not turn out to be the way we hope it to. There are things completely beyond our control like aspects of our health or the future of the economy, but whether or not we can influence our future and situations, we can always walk forward in faith and thankfulness for God’s goodness and mercy, knowing that He is in control and that His plans are better than ours.
You may ask yourself, “If God is all powerful, why doesn’t He just make things happen sooner and easier? Why does God sometimes take so long to answer prayers? Why hasn’t God brought that long-awaited love into my life, or helped me land the career I’m seeking?” I’ve personally pondered these questions when life hasn’t matched up to what I wanted or expected it to be. But if there’s something we can learn from Noah, it’s that God is at work long before we see the flood waters rise, and He’s there to sustain us in the trial. His plan often is much slower and usually takes place differently than we imagine, but I’ve witnessed Him bring good things in the midst of the trials. He is using these times to strengthen the muscles of patience and trust in Him. Let’s pray to have eyes to see His goodness and faithfulness; let’s pray for a thankful heart.
DIG: How would the original readers have related to this account?
DISCOVER: What does this story show you about God?
DO: With this in mind, what do you need to do or how should you live your life today? Today, read Psalm 116 and spend time praying for God to give you eyes to see His faithfulness and goodness in the midst of the trial.