Chances are you read the title of this and thought I may have made a mistake. The phrase we tend to hear is - "The Patience of Job." I know, I've heard that a time or two, but I've never once heard or said or even thought about the patience of Noah.
Scripture doesn't say exactly, but through study and cross-reference many say that it took 50-75 years to build the ark. (See Genesis 5:33, 6:3,14, 7:1,6 for more details or visit Answers in Genesis) Think about that for a minute. That's nearly a lifetime in our world today and even back then it was close to 10% of their living years.
Noah clearly acted in faith and walked in obedience, but he also endured and persevered. Most likely he was questioned by those around him...he was building an ark for a flood when they had never even experienced a drop of rain. This step out of his comfort zone was not rewarded immediately. He continued to work and believe day after day after day. Even after his work was done more trust was needed.
I was talking with a friend after our trip and in the midst of our conversation God convicted me as I reflected on the life of Noah. I have put my faith to work, attempted to walk in obedience and have been blessed by God in the process, but lately I've found myself a bit distracted and discouraged. I know I've been busy and trying to discern where and how I can cut back, but I also realized maybe there was more happening than I thought.
Getting swept away by the busyness of life happens and it affects us more than we realize. Facing decisions and change does the same, but lacking patience impacts me as well. How about you? Can you say the same?
I'm not just talking with your husband, children or in traffic. But patience with God when it comes to your obedience and steps of faith. We need patience for more than just our temper. We need patience as we wait on God for direction, as we long for Him to transform us, look for Him to use and as we speak the Truth.
This realization has led me to look at my parenting, teaching and ministry a bit differently. We live in such an instant gratification world that I believe this mentality affects us in ways we are unaware of.
Like Noah, have you heard from God, stepped out in faith and exercised obedience? Like me, have you become frustrated when you don't see the results you've expected or hope for?
Friend, if you said, "Yes" to those questions, I pray you'll read on and say the same to another.
Time means one thing to us and something entirely different to God. Scripture says, "But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years are like a day." (2 Peter 3:8) Instead of expecting something to happen today, tomorrow or next year, we'd be better off waiting patiently for God's perfect timing.
I have no idea how Noah felt or what thoughts he wrestled with as he built the ark, but I know sometimes my focus is on the end result more than the process it takes to get there. As a coach, I've always appreciated the quote - "It's about the journey, not the destination." Thinking about Noah has brought that phrase to mind; I'm beginning to think it's more applicable to a life of faith than a basketball season. Perhaps you and I wouldn't become so discouraged if we focused more on what God was doing in us than what He's doing through us.
So back to my last question - Are you willing to pray for patience? I know people say that's a dangerous prayer, but this look at Noah leaves me thinking it's also a powerful one. God will give us opportunities to exercise patience, but then He will eventually use and bless that patience!
May we remember -