In 2012, I heard an original song at a church event that would leave an indelible mark on my life. I felt each and every word. I wanted to live each and every word. There have been many songs I’ve heard since, but that particular song defines my experience in a way that no other song does. After that event, I decided to attend a mission school. Me and my broke 17 year old self had no idea how I’d raise the funds to make this happen… but God did. In the midst of uncertainty, He repeatedly encouraged me to have faith.
If you haven’t already, read The Weight of His Will for Part 1 of Noah’s story.
[All scriptures are from Genesis hence the omission of a book]
Faith Requires Patience
Imagine you are Noah, at the age of 600 you enter the ark (7:11), and after an unforgettable year you exit (8:13). Your time in the ark is yet another example of what it means to walk by faith and not by sight. So after hearing the sound of rain consecutively for several days, the ark rests in the seventh month (8:4). However, it’s not until the tenth month that the tops of the mountains can be seen (8:5). At this point you’ve invested a fifth of your life into this ark with no clear idea of when the rain would stop and what would happen afterwards. Has God ever promised you something (a new Earth after the rain), only for there to be silence (3 months of calm) until finally you begin to see some sort of fulfilment (mountaintops)?
Communication with God is at its most vital when you feel doubtful or uncertain about how He plans to fulfil His promises.
As a righteous man – who found grace in His eyes (6:8) – it can be assumed that he didn’t wait idly. He most likely continued to give thanks and praise to God for sparing him, and bringing him thus far. There’s no mention of Noah complaining or cursing at having been in the ark so long and still no closer to freedom. In fact, he waits actively by sending out birds (8:6-12). The olive branch (8:11) is symbolic of the fact that God is not oblivious to our need of concrete affirmation: He expects us to walk by faith, not blindly. In other words, even when your prayers aren’t answered in the way we want them to be – God is still working.
Faith Requires Trust
For many people (myself included), we tend to visualise our goals at the top of a mountain. Obstacles in our way occasionally cause us to perceive it (the mountain) as insurmountable or time consuming to climb. Visually, the story of Noah pictures him coming down a mountain. He can’t see what’s at the bottom, neither does he know how long it will take to get through the middle. All he has is the assurance of the mountaintops.
Cling to the assurance that God has given you.
- Wait actively – I love that both 8:10 and 8:12 mention that he waited in between sending out the birds. In other words, Noah sent birds but it wasn’t done frantically or carelessly i.e. if he was itching to get out, he would have sent numerous birds or birds every day. Don’t wait passively, but don’t wait frantically – there’s a balance.
- Adjust your focus – Noah could have lamented that there was no progress because he couldn’t see the waters receding, but he could see the mountaintops. Are you focusing on the right thing?
- Give thanks – not because God needs to hear it, but because you need to be reminded that you didn’t get where you wanted to be by yourself. Furthermore, sharing your testimony has the potential to reach more people than you will ever know.
Your ability to get through tribulations or ascertain God’s will is determined by your faith and how you view the situation. I pray that in every instance you choose to have both trust and patience that your ‘waters’ will recede.