A Lesson in Patience

As you know from a previous post, my word for the year is expectation.  This year I am reading through the Bible with the expectation that God is going to show up, show me things, and work in my life.  I’m reading with the expectation of change from the inside out.

If you are wondering what on earth that has to do with minimalism… well, the connection for me is that with the removal of more and more distractions in life, I am able to focus my attention on what matters.  For me, one big thing that matters is my faith.

I plan to share every week or so about where I am at in my One Year Bible reading, what I am learning, and how it is shaping me.  I do hope you will read along, but I understand if my faith is not your thing.

This week, my reading took me to the story of Noah and the great flood.  Most people are familiar with the story of Noah and how God told him to build an ark and have the animals enter the ark.  Most people know about the the rain that came down and the waters that rose up.

 

And the floodwaters covered the earth for 150 days.
Genesis 7:24

 

What really stood out to me in reading the story of Noah again, however, was not the flooding or the ark or the animals.

What stood out to me was the incredible patience it must have taken to endure all that time on the boat.

Genesis 8 tells us that after 150 days, the ark came to rest on the mountains.  Two and a half months later, the waters started to go down.  Forty days from that, Noah released a raven into the air.  The raven flew back and forth as the waters went down.  He also released a dove.

 

But the dove could find no place to land because the water still covered the ground.
Genesis 8:9

 

Seven days later, Noah released the dove again.

 

This time the dove returned to him in the evening with a fresh olive leaf in its beak. Then Noah knew that the floodwaters were almost gone.
Genesis 8:11

 

Noah waited seven more days and then released the dove again.

 

He waited another seven days and then released the dove again. This time it did not come back.
Genesis 8:12

 

By that time, had I been Noah I would have been going stir crazy.  All that waiting and releasing and waiting.  Sometimes waiting for a blessing is the hardest part of faith!

And it wasn’t over yet

Sure, Noah realized that the dove did not come back because the waters were going down.  Yep, he realized that dry ground was out there.  But he waited more.

 

Two more months went by, and at last the earth was dry!
Genesis 8:14

 

It wasn’t enough that the water was drying up and land was available.  Noah had to wait for the earth to be dry and for God to say it was time.

 

Then God said to Noah, “Leave the boat, all of you—you and your wife, and your sons and their wives. Release all the animals—the birds, the livestock, and the small animals that scurry along the ground—so they can be fruitful and multiply throughout the earth.”
Genesis 8:15-17

 

As I read that, I found myself wondering if Noah ever got fed up waiting.  If he ever got angry and yelled and threw any sort of fit… maybe he screamed at God saying enough was enough.

But this was Noah.

 

This is the account of Noah and his family. Noah was a righteous man, the only blameless person living on earth at the time, and he walked in close fellowship with God.
Genesis 6:9

 

Based on what the Bible says about Noah, he probably didn’t get angry and yell.  He probably never screamed, at least not about the flood.

I’m guessing he prayed a lot.  He trusted God and stood on that ark in patience, waiting for the blessing of survival that he had been promised.

 

He had patience to wait for the blessing.

 

So I got to thinking about my life and how impatient I can be.  I thought about troubles faced in the past and anything that might be coming in the future.  And I thought about how even though things look good (the ground was drying up), they might not be safe yet (super wet earth can produce sink holes and all sorts fo issues).  And I thought about how God sees the stuff that we don’t see.

 

And that is why sometimes we have to wait.

 

Sometimes, we have to be patient and have faith that God will do what is necessary in our lives.  We need to step back rather than step out.  Noah knew that.  Noah walked in close fellowship with God and understood that God would guide him in the right direction when the time was right.  And until that time, he had patience.  And I need to learn to have that kind of patience, too.

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