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January 16, 2022 | Doug Sauder
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“Noah was six hundred years old when the floodwaters were on the earth. So Noah, with his sons, his wife, and his sons’ wives, went into the ark because of the waters of the flood.”—Genesis 7:6¬–7 (NKJV)
So much of Noah’s faith can be seen in this story. It’s been many years—though it’s not definitively stated here, some estimate anywhere from 50-100—since God originally commanded Noah to build the ark in preparation for the flood.
Since that moment, Noah had operated in faith that this crazy, improbable, completely unfamiliar thing would actually come to pass, despite the judgmental glances around him, or perhaps even the doubting voices within him. And now again, we see him operate in another kind of faith by entering the ark, even before the flood had begun. He exemplifies two types of faith here: one that operates in works and another that is seen in the stillness.
Being a Type A personality, I am very driven by to-do lists and results. While the initial step of faith might be difficult, I find the steps afterwards are usually easier. In the moments of completing a task, I sometimes put my faith on the sidelines and focus on each task as if it were a separate thing, getting stuck in the details and forgetting the heart of faith that was also commanded of me. I think we do this so our faith is not fatigued by the continual hope of the promise; so rather than exercising our faith, it remains in hibernation while we complete our lists.
But the time had finally come for Noah and his family to put down their tools and step into the new season of waiting. After decades of working and seeing results from their labor, this new “rest” had to feel foreign. I imagine this moment as a sort of climax to their preparations. It was the moment where they stopped the familiar and remembered the outcome was never up to them, only God.
It’s often the stillness that’s harder than the obedience. Why? Because when you’re working, you feel a certain level of control. But in the stillness, your part is done as you wait on the Lord. There is a lot of uncertainty that comes with stillness . . . and a lot of patience that must be exercised. Most of us don’t do so well with that! Yet even then, Noah set an amazing example for us as he faithfully walked into the ark with his family and waited for the Lord to do all that He said He would.
Chances are our lives will always be filled with tasks and steps of obedience no matter the stage of life we find ourselves. Knowing this, I hope we never lose the simple faith that is strengthened in the stillness while He alone works.
DIG: Read James 2:17–18.
DISCOVER: Which of the two types of faith mentioned above do you struggle to operate in most? Why?
DO: Stop for a moment and look up from your to-do list to the bigger picture of what He’s accomplishing. When the to-do list is completed and the ark is finished, where does that leave your faith? Does it feel foreign? Was it forgotten in the busyness of it all?