They say the two best days of a boat owner’s life are the day he gets the boat and the day he gets rid of it. Don’t believe me? Ask Noah. Building that huge boat was no small undertaking. Dealing with the contractors had to be stressful enough! Then there was maintenance of the boat and caring for all those animals. For forty days and forty nights it rained and the waters in a storm of that magnitude had to be tempestuous. When the rains finally subsided, the Ark, which was designed to float, not to be sailed, was at the mercy of the currents with no end in sight.
But God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the livestock that were with him in the ark. And God made a wind blow over the earth, and the waters subsided.(Genesis 8:1, ESV)
God sent the Flood because “the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence” (Genesis 6:11, ESV). In contrast to all the evil in the world, Noah and his family walked with God (Genesis 6:9). So, God commissioned him to build the Ark and to preach repentance and deliverance to the people of the earth. Surely, Noah building the largest boat anyone had ever seen in the middle of dry land was a conversation starter. Sadly, after years of effort, the only humans to enter the Ark would be Noah and his immediate family. Everyone else was destroyed by the Flood.
Our sin can bring all kinds of destructive chaos into our world. Those who listen to God’s still, small voice can find grace, but it does not necessarily mean the troubles stop immediately. Noah and his family still had to endure the Flood and ride out the consequences of that terrible storm. Some calculate their stay on the Ark at about 370 days. I cannot imagine how stressful that must have been for Noah and his family. Their supplies would not last forever and they could not live out the rest of their days on that Ark.
When God sends storms into our lives it can seem like there is no end in sight. Your reserves can only carry you so far and then it seems like all hope is lost. But the story of Noah did not end with the Ark and it did not end on the Ark either. “God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the livestock that were with him on the Ark.” There is an end to our troubles when we put our faith in God’s goodness.
Noah had to try three times before he got affirmation that it was safe to finally leave the Ark. First, he sent out a raven that never returned (Genesis 8:7). Then he sent out a dove and she returned having found “no place to set her foot” (Genesis 8:9, ESV). Noah “Waited another seven days” (Genesis 8:10, ESV) and sent the dove out again. That evening, it returned with an olive branch in its mouth. “So Noah knew that the waters had subsided from the earth” (Genesis 8:11b, ESV).
If it were me, because of my short-sighted lack of faith, I’d have sent out every bird I had, every single day of that week whether it could fly or not. “C’mon, chickens! Find me some dry land!” Noah had the patience to wait on God because Noah had the faith to know that God remembers us in our troubles. He always remembers.
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Photo taken by me at the Ark Encounter in Kentucky