After a long few years of trusting his instincts and his inner voice, Noah finally knew without a shadow of a doubt, he was not crazy. God was with him all along and God guided his steps.
Noah’s family got into the ark and shut themselves in as God had asked them to do. (1-12) For 40 days it rained and they were locked into one giant boat. (17-20) As the rain fell on the ground and the flood waters lifted the ark, I can only imagine the anxiety, fear, and increasing trust in God that Noah, his family, and even the animal must have felt. (13-16) While they watched the rest of the world beneath them be destroyed, they had to hold onto the slim hope that one day all things would end and they would come out of the flood. (21-24)
When I think of this whole story, what comes to mind is my own doubt and anxiety over things that I once felt strongly about and convinced of flickering away. There were times when I used to feel God was guiding me. But then something happens, some stressful situation arises, just like Noah’s, a flood, a fear, a fire of some sort in my mind and my convictions and trust shatters. I see the suffering of the people around me. I witness struggles, pain, and death and I wonder in my heart, why is God letting us go through all of it? Is he blind to people’s suffering?
Then I am reminded of the journey of Noah. For forty days and nights, it rained. For forty days and nights, life was grim and gloomy except for the slim hope that God would bring them through their ordeal. Then I wondered what was Noah doing in those forty days and nights? Was he spending time in fear, cursing, upset, angry and lost? Or was he using that time to connect with God deeper? Was he using his forty terrifying days simply being merry and careless?
As I prayed more I realized, no, Noah would not waste the time. He must have been in prayer just like Jesus was in the wilderness. It was a foreshadowing of the 40 years of scary travel the people of Israel had to go through to get to the land of promise. It also reminded of me of the time Moses spent in prayer on the top of the mountain. At the end of the forty days and nights, Moses, Jesus, Noah, The People of Israel and anyone who spent time in connecting with God did come out safe and sound, strong and prepared.
Maybe the whole focus of the story is not the destruction of the world, but rather the destruction of self-grandeur, power, and conviction that one can go it alone without God. Maybe what Noah went through was similar to what Moses went through. In the end, they both had clear directions for a life in which God was completely involved. Noah was spending his days and nights of pouring down rain to come to a deeper intimacy with God.
When Noah was floating around for a hundred and fifty days after the rain stopped, he had to trust God to take the helm of the boat. It was a complete letting go of all the control Noah thought he had. When God welcomes us into the ark just like he did Noah, we won’t be alone. Noah couldn’t have gotten all the animals into the ark by himself. They all entered into the space on their own as God planned. We have to live with the comfort and knowledge that God has sent all creatures to cohabitate with us also.
The story of cohabitation of all living things in the world, the collective responsibility we are all given, the trust, the letting go, the helplessness and every other human situation is so well represented in this chapter of Genesis. There is also one shining moment. That shining moment, spending forty days with God, will always bring new life and new focus into our lives. When there is heavy pouring rain of anxiety and depressing darkness overshadowing us, never forget to let God take the helm of your life. He knows how to steer it to the right shore, to the dry land where a raven and a dove will find an olive branch of life.
God’s solution #7
When life seems out of control, let God take control of your boat. When everything seems to be pouring down on you, do not waste time worrying about it. Take a forty days of prayer exercise and in hundred and fifty days of agony, you will come out better. Noah and his family did that and so did the people of Israel, Moses, and Jesus. And so can we. Give it a chance.