There are so many stories that reflect patience in the Bible. We often hear about the patience of Job. We know God patiently waited until Noah got the ark done before he sent rain. But, for me there is one story that in my mind stands out or stands above the others. For you it may be a different story.
I am thinking about the patience of Noah. I know your wondering how in the world Noah had patience. It was God that displayed patience while waiting on Noah to finish the ark. Hear me out. Stop and reflect back on the story for just a few minutes.
“The Lord then said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation. Take with you seven pairs of every kind of clean animal, a male and its mate, and one pair of every kind of unclean animal, a male and its mate, and also seven pairs of every kind of bird, male and female, to keep their various kinds alive throughout the earth. 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 7:1-4
Now get a clear vision in your head. Noah is to take seven pairs of every kind of clean animal and one pair of every unclean animal and then also another seven pairs of every kind of bird. He has seven days to get this all done before God sends the rain. Then for forty days and forty nights God will make it rain and clean the earth.
He also had with him three sons, three daughters-in-law and a wife. All of these people and animals resided in this ark for at least forty days and forty nights, it could have been longer who really knows.
There are a couple of thoughts here. I am not a patient person when it rains more than one or two days in a row. I am okay for a couple of days after that I am ready for some sun. I am ready to see something and hear something other than rain, lightening and thunder. So, for me having rain for several days in a row is almost unthinkable.
Another thought. I love animals. I love being with animals. I don’t love the mess they sometimes produce. Or when it gets a little damp and Kobe’s or Max’s hair gets wet with moisture it begins to smell and my sinuses aren’t too keen on that. I just have two. Can you imagine what it would be like to have that many animals with you twenty four hours a day for forty plus days. Who knows what it was like if the skunk got in an uproar.
Most of you know I came from Indiana. We have snow and ice in Indiana. There have been times in the past we were snowed or iced in for several days in a row and sometimes weeks at a time. We lived in the country on back country gravel roads. We were not the first group they plowed out. Sometimes we were the last. I have been known to go stir crazy after a few days. The first couple of days are great. I got caught up on my work; I found fun things to do; I played with the kids, and I baked. But after awhile that got old. I am a very social person and I need to visit with people other than my own family. I am a shopper so I needed to shop. While on the ark I am thinking there are not many places you can go or too many things that can be accomplished. I am pretty sure I would have gone crazy waiting patiently on God to do what he needed to do.
“The waters flooded the earth for a hundred and fifty days.” (Genesis 7:25) If you take 150 and divide it by 30 that is approximately five months. Then poor Noah had to wait another seven days. He waited seven days a couple more times before the dove was sent out and did not return. I am glad God chose Noah. Noah had the patience to wait it out; me not so much I fear.
I am not sure Noah knew what all or how long all of this was going to take place. It didn’t bother Noah. He trusted in God. He patiently waited for God to clean the earth. I have mentioned before God has given me bits and pieces of what His will is for me. He has never entrusted me with the information of when it will all take place or how long I have to wait. I have been known to get quite impatient waiting on God to move.
It is not in us as humans (at least most of us) to be patient and wait upon God to move. We wait for a day or two and then we are ready to help God move things along. We want answers quickly. We want our clouds rolled away before the next group of clouds come in. In this day and age we have microwaves that give us instant hot coffee or warm food. We have text messages that gives us answers to our questions without waiting. Instead of developing pictures we take a picture with our camera and in the next instant look at it or show it to others. We are people who can’t wait.
Can you imagine waiting on an ark with smelly animals, lots of rain and little room to move about while God is cleaning the earth? Along with Noah’s attributes of being loving, faithful and very trusting I think you could add patience to his long list.
This month I am learning to be a little more patient with people. I am learning to be more tolerant of those who slow me down or keep me from moving at the pace I want to go. I am learning it’s best to stop and look around at the many blessings God has given me instead of rushing from one thing to the next.
How are you doing with patience this month? How are you surviving with all that is going on in your life? Patience has not been one of my greatest virtues, but with God’s help I will add it to the mix with all the other fruits and in the end I may be surprised at what God is doing in my life.
Dear God: I admire Noah for all the things he went through and for the patience to see it to the end. Thank you for helping him survive all the things he had to go through like rain every day for a really long time. Thank you for the relationships that grew stronger as they had to learn to deal with each other on a daily basis with all the smells and the discomfort. Help us as we journey toward patience this month. Amen