BLEH…I’ve been putting off this next Noah post. I wish I could say that my procrastination has been a well thought-out plan to impose a period of waiting on those following. But, 1) I’m not that brilliant, and 2) I doubt anyone out there has been losing sleep because the next Noah post hasn’t appeared in their inbox.
It’s been plain procrastination…and honestly, I’m simply tired talking about waiting. It is super uncomfortable to suppose that the Lord of all creation wants me to wait…not just once, but over and over again. He is continually putting me through various seasons of waiting and the story of Noah only confirms that this is sometimes how God works.
It really is plain and simple. His timing is nothing like mine. There is really no point in trying to explain it, because it’s inexplainable. There’s no purpose in comprehending it, because it’s incomprehensible.
This morning, as I sat down to write, a little two-year-old entered the room with a Thomas the Tank Engine book asking for a “choo-choo movie.”
“Okay,” I said, “Let Mommy finish this one sentence.”
Tears. Lots and lots of tears.
“Just wait…”, I said.
He has no concept of the word, ‘wait’. To him, the word is synonymous with ‘no’.
Being the observant and understanding parent that I am, (I wish you could see my sarcastic smirk on your screen), I led him through some questions of logic to teach him:
“Do you want to watch a train movie?”
He nodded his head.
“Okay. Mommy says, ‘yes, you can watch a train movie.'”
“Now, did Mommy say, ‘yes’?”
“Okay, just wait a bit and Mommy will help start it.”
Obviously, I wasn’t connecting. He could not understand or comprehend my timing or my request for him to wait…for literally a matter of seconds. What was seconds for me, was an indescribable, apparently body-convulsing, life-shattering, traumatic amount of time for him.
Am I the same way with my Father? What is seconds for Him, is an excruciating amount of torturous time for me?
As I look once again at the story of Noah, especially Genesis 7 and 8, where I left off in the last post, there are many references to time. So many in fact, that I had to get out two sheets of paper and map a timeline to wrap my mind around the account.
The timing must be important, because dates are mentioned down to the month and day. For instance, the rain started when Noah was 600 years, 2 months, and 17 days old. That’s extremely specific.
We easily remember that it rained for 40 days and nights. (Probably because we’ve set that information to a tune.) But my timeline uncovers that the earth was waterlogged for 150 days, roughly 5 months! After those 5 months, the waters only started to recede. Then the ark rested on Mount Ararat…for approximately 3 more months before other mountains were visible. Another 40 days pass before Noah sent out the raven and the dove. Another week passed before the dove returned with the olive branch. Then another week before the dove was sent and didn’t return. Noah waited yet another week after that before it was determined that the surface of the earth was completely dry.
Altogether, from the first day of rain until complete dryness, the whole ordeal on the boat lasted about 1 year and 10 days. The bible is specific about this. When the rain started to fall and Noah boarded the ark, he was 600 years, 2 months, and 17 days old. When the land was completely dry, he climbed out at the age of 601 years, 2 months, and 27 days.
Noah had to wait over and over again.
Can you imagine?
Feeling the wind pick up, watching the clouds roll in…that first ominous roll of thunder on Day 1? Shoveling goat poo, yet again, listening to the rain fall outside on Day 19? (Not even halfway through the storm yet?) On Day 90, after the rain had stopped, to have not even yet seen a glimpse of the waters receding? Then after 5 months of being on the boat, finally resting on a mountain…the rocking finally ceasing and the subsequent struggle for land-legs and equilibrium to return…only to sit for almost another 3 months on a peak surrounded by water?
Then more and more waiting…waiting on birds. How seemingly small and powerless. When that first dove was released, can you imagine the excitement and hope Noah and his family must have felt, feeling so close to getting off that stinkin’ boat…only to be disappointed and told to wait, yet again.
Noah had to wait over and over again.
I sit speechless…
All the waiting experienced by Noah forces me to realize that I, like a toddler, don’t understand waiting. I often mistake it for a “no”.
I often labor and complain over long periods of waiting, that in the grand scheme of things, are mere nanoseconds of His intentionality.
I have to rest on my own mountains surrounded by water to realize my dependency on God and His timing. He ordains the rain. He tells the sun when to rise and set. My job is to sit on the boat, look out at the water, and wait. (BLEH)
Job 37:4-6 says, “After it his voice roars; he thunders with his majestic voice, and he does not restrain the lightnings when his voice is heard. God thunders wondrously with his voice; he does great things that we cannot comprehend. For to the snow he says, ‘Fall on the earth,’ likewise to the downpour, his mighty downpour.”
I imagine the thunder and the lightening during those first 40 days and nights of rain. “He does great things we cannot comprehend”…
…great things like forcing us to wait in His downpour. His mighty downpour.