I will be the first to admit that my last post was depressing. It was just as depressing to write as it is to read. However, awareness of our situation should not lead to despair, rather it should lead to hope. When God shared his plan with Noah, it is safe to assume that Noah felt overwhelmed.
Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights, and I will wipe from the face of the earth every living creature I have made.Genesis 7:4
Putting ourselves in his position, we can assume that Noah had friends and family that would perish in the flood. Even with the knowledge of what was to come, he was helpless to change the outcome. While he constructed the ark he may have warned them of the impending judgment, pleading with them to repent and to change their ways. But no one listened. Sharing an unpleasant truth is never well received, but it doesn’t make it any less true.
Noah was six hundred years old when the floodwaters came on the earth. And Noah and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives entered the ark to escape the waters of the flood. Pairs of clean and unclean animals, of birds and of all creatures that move along the ground, male and female, came to Noah and entered the ark, as God had commanded Noah. And after the seven days the floodwaters came on the earth.Genesis 7:6-10
Imagine the time it took to build this massive ark, large enough house 8 people, pairs of every animal of that time, and all the food and necessary supplies. Not a drop had fallen when they entered the ark and closed themselves inside. But there, in the uncertainty, they waited for God to fulfill his word. We can only image some of the thoughts that may have passed through their minds. What if the flood never comes? Or worse, what if it does? Did I just say goodbye to everyone and everything I’ve ever known? Will this ark really hold? Will it be able to float with the weight of all these animals? Despite their fears, however, they remained patiently waiting. We should remember this example when our fears threaten to overwhelm us. Our faith must be greater than our fears as we patiently wait on God.
And after the seven days the floodwaters came on the earth. In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, on the seventeenth day of the second month—on that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened. And rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights.Genesis 7:10-12
God protected Noah and his family within the ark, but they still had to withstand the storm. Imagine the fear they felt as the storm raged. Water was erupting from springs below while rained poured down from above. The animals shifted restlessly in their pens within the ark, which was pitching and creaking, as the storm threated to consume them. Noah knew God was protecting them, but enduring the storm must have still been terrifying.
For forty days the flood kept coming on the earth, and as the waters increased they lifted the ark high above the earth. The waters rose and increased greatly on the earth, and the ark floated on the surface of the water. They rose greatly on the earth, and all the high mountains under the entire heavens were covered. The waters rose and covered the mountains to a depth of more than fifteen cubits. Every living thing that moved on land perished—birds, livestock, wild animals, all the creatures that swarm over the earth, and all mankind.Genesis 7:17-21
The rain continued to pour down and beat on the surface of the ark, not for a few days… or weeks… but for forty days. Can you imaging enduring a hurricane aboard a ship for forty days? All the while continuing to feed and care for the animals on board? God promises never to leave us, and he provides us with the strength to endure the storms. But that doesn’t mean we won’t still experience them. Jesus shared the same message with his followers :
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”John 16:33
During these times of fear and doubt, it is our faith that gives us hope. Even when all seems lost, only faith can still our troubled hearts. Faith reminds us that God has a plan for us, even when we can’t see it. No storm lasts forever, but they don’t always end the way we expect.
The waters flooded the earth for a hundred and fifty days.Genesis 7:24
Until then, God provides us with the strength to endure.