Tell me you hate waiting as much as I do. I need to know I’m not the only one. I crave instant results and immediate gratification. I want to do ten sit-ups and be able to button my pants. I want to throw out some seeds at dawn and harvest a tomato by dinner. I want a neat and tidy ending to my problem, and I want it resolved in 60 minutes, as seen on TV.
Waiting on God to work all things together for my good (Romans 8:28) crushes the limits of my patience. And let me be honest, my patience can be thin to begin with. Tiny glimpses of progress temporarily pacify me, but I’m antsy when the answer stalls in latent resolution for too long. Why can’t my children get it together? Why won’t my house sell? When will I see the fruit of my labor in this difficult relationship? Move faster, God!
Enter the story of Noah and the ark. While waiting and lamenting over an urgent-to-me-but-apparently-not-to-God circumstance, I stumbled onto the familiar account of Genesis 8. I knew Noah entered the ark with the animals, his family, and provisions to escape the impending flood. What I never considered was the time between the cessation of rain and their parade out of the ark.
They entered the ark a week before it rained for 40 days, producing a violent flood. After 150 days the ark rested on Mount Ararat, but that’s not when they exited the cypress Titanic. It was another seven months before they stepped on dry ground. Let that sink in. Seven months. The boat sat still, stranded, and helpless while they waited on God to finish what He started. I can’t speak for Noah, but I’m sure I would’ve questioned why God would save me from a devastating flood, only to let me die on a mountain. How could this possibly be the work of a good God?
I doubt it was a stretch for Noah to trust God when the rain finally began. The adrenaline rush from experiencing His Word set in motion after 120 years would have been electrifying. They had prepared, and they trusted God to be truthful. I picture tally marks on the side of the boat, counting off 40 days and nights, but no one walked out on day 42.
I have ark experiences in life too. A storm of kid drama, a flood of financial distress, the rocking waves of balancing home and work. When it’s really bumpy, I’m tethered to Him in feverish desperation, holding onto Jesus for all I’m worth. When the commotion subsides and I’m left with a feeling of, “This isn’t quite finished,” or “Surely this isn’t all there is,” I become impatient and restless waiting for the abundant life I envisioned.
God never told Noah how long the tribulation would last. Maybe it was best. From experience, I can look back at difficult seasons and say with certainty that knowing beforehand how long a trial would last would’ve deeply discouraged me from the beginning.
Can you imagine what would have happened if Noah had given up and left the safety of the ark on day 42 or even day 150? He probably would’ve drowned or fallen to his death down a muddy mountain. The persevering Noah waited, and his patient endurance allowed God to finish what He began. Imagine him and his family stepping out of the ark for the first time to lay eyes on a crisp blue sky, adorned with the most majestic display of color arcing across the sky, a sight well worth the wait.
What are you waiting for? Whatever it is, stay in the safety of God’s plan until He tells you to move. A rainbow of blessings awaits the patient follower of Christ.
About Kim Heinecke
Kim Heinecke wants to live in a world where children listen to the advice of their mothers without question. As a former single mom she’s been encouraging women using her life experiences in parenting, growing in the Word of God and everything in between. When she’s not negotiating with a teenager or wrestling a pre-schooler, you can find her camping in the family RV or pretending to understand sports with her husband and four sons. Read more from Kim at www.TheMomExperiment.com.