Our water weary family has been checking the window for months. “Is it time yet?” No. Wait for it… All in God’s perfect time.
My favorite line in our reading is this: “But God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the livestock that were with him in the ark” (verse 1). He didn’t just set them afloat and let them figure it out from there. He took the time to dry the earth, let new growth happen, and settle everything back in place for them; THEN He called them out of the ark. Let’s look back in on our family as they wait for God’s call.
♥ ♦ ♥
The rain has stopped but looking out the window hasn’t brought joy to Shem’s wife. She asks Noah every day to open the window so she can track the progress, but he knows that doing so would only make her spirits sink lower. He reminds her that she must have patience. She long for the feel of earth between her toes. “When will this water ever dry up?” Noah opens the window once a week to give her some encouragement. But it is hard to see any change without visible landmarks to judge change by.
Shem holds his wife as she cries after every visit to the window. After her visit today she is especially discouraged. It has been six months already. “It WILL happen! You just have to give God time. He hasn’t forgotten us. If ever in doubt, look at how all the animals get along together.”
“I know. I’m just want to feel the ground beneath my feet again. I don’t think I would make a good sailor. I think I need to stop going to the window and just keep busy and trust the Lord to take care of the rest.”
“That sounds like a good idea.” Shem gazes into her eyes. “Did I ever tell you how much I love you and how thankful I am that the Lord saw fit to give me you as my wife?”
“Yes you did, but tell me again. I never tire of hearing of your love” his wife says with a smile. They both settle down for the night and she feels secure as she rests her head on his chest.
About a month later Noah’s wife notices something is different about the ark again. Her senses are so in tune with their surroundings that she is always the first to notice anything out of the ordinary. “Noah, I don’t feel the sway of the water beneath us. There is also a slight tilt to the whole ark. I noticed it when cooking last night. Liquids tended to settle more to one side of the dish. Have you noticed it too?”
“I hadn’t noticed but now that you mention it, I don’t feel the rocking of the water either. Let’s look out the window and see what is going on.”
They both silently walk to the window. Their view is restricted but it looks like the water is farther below them than it used to be. Noah surmises, “Maybe we are stuck on something. That could explain why the ark is not moving with the waves anymore.”
“That could well be true. But the water is still so high I can’t see land. Do you think Shem’s wife would like to hear this news?”
“No. Let’s just let her figure it out for herself. She seems settled right now and I don’t want to make her impatient again” says Noah.
Time continues to march on and the rest of the crew notice the stillness of the ark after a while too. Shem’s wife has determined in her heart that she will wait with patience, no matter what. Sometimes that task is easier to do than at other times but when she gets tempted to worry she prays or sings instead. It is amazing how quickly her worries melt when she has a song on her lips. Everyone else’s worries melt along with hers when she sings too.
Noah goes to the window today to look at the progress. He is not anxious over what is happening, just marking the passage of events. He learned a long time ago to be patient and wait for God to do His work. It has been ten months since they went into the ark. He can tell by the tally marks on the wall in their dining area. Ham has been keeping a meticulous record for the family. When Noah opens the window today he sees the tops of mountains that are surrounding them. He is excited as this is the first dry land that they have seen. He wants to run and tell everyone but he hears Shem’s wife singing rising up from the lower deck. He knows this means she is struggling with being patient again. He almost enjoys her struggle as its evidence provides them with the joy of hearing her songs resounding through the timbers. His only wish was that she sang for joy instead of out of desperation. Her songs certainly bring joy to his soul and he is very grateful for those gifts.
Noah decides to show Shem’s wife his discovery. “She deserves a little visible hope.” He follows the sound of her singing and finds her sitting with the sheep. “Your voice is so lovely today Daughter.”
“Thank you father. I’m just keeping the sheep entertained.”
“And you are doing a lovely job of it too. Would you come with me please?”
“Certainly. Is there something you need help with” she asks as she rises and brushes the hay from her skirt.
“Not really. Just something I would like to share with you.” They climb to the upper deck and approach the window. “Come stand over here for a moment.” She does as Noah has requested.
As Noah begins to unfasten the window her heart sinks at the thought of what awaits her on the other side. “Please father I…”
“Hush my child. I want you to see this.” As soon as the window is fully open, Noah beckons her with his hand. She steps forward but keeps her eyes closed and is humming her favorite song. She is standing beside Noah at the window but too afraid to open her eyes. “Open your eyes child for I have wonders for you to behold” Noah softly calls to her.
She opens her eyes and the first sight she sees is the top of the nearest mountain. She begins to scan the area before her and sees several other mountain tops sticking above the surface of the water. “The water is drying up! Oh father! I can see land again!” With tears in her eyes, she throws her arms around Noah. “Thank you father for showing me this. You have given me such a special gift.”
“I’m so glad you are pleased. You realize we still have a ways to go before we can walk on dry land again but it’s coming. Wait for it…” Noah holds her by the shoulders and asks, “Do you think you could sing a song of joy now?”
“Oh yes father! My heart is FULL of joy and all I want to do is sing!”
“Good daughter. Then sing. SING to the Lord for He is good! And I will listen in, if you don’t mind.”
She laughs. “You are always welcome to listen in and I wouldn’t mind you joining in either.”
“I will just listen. My singing voice is something not to be inflicted on others” he says with a smile.
Together they tell the rest of the family of the wonders they have seen today. Everyone wants to peek out the window and witness God’s faithfulness. That night at dinner their prayers are overflowing with thanks giving to the Lord.
Forty more days go by and Noah decides it’s time to see how things are progressing. It is time to see if the birds can find rest on land again. He sends out a raven and watches as it soars away. “All this time you have been confined in this space. How you must have longed to fly free. Bring me back a good report please.” Noah waits by the window all day but the raven never returns. He is saddened by its refusal to return but knows that God can look after it. “I hope your mate knows where to find you when the time comes my friend.”
Another week passes and Noah decides to try again. This time he chooses a dove. These birds mate for life so this bird would be motivated to return to its mate. He waits quietly at the window for word from the bird. Finally, just before sunset the dove returns to him. It looks tired. “Thank you for your help my friend. There is a warm place and plenty of seed waiting for you for your hard work.”
The end of another week dawns. “I wonder what today’s flight will bring my feathered friend.” Noah stands at the window again with the dove. “You did so well last time that I’m going to ask you to look again my friend. Show me what the Lord has been working on.”
Noah again waits patiently for the dove to return. At sunset he sees it approaching. Something is a little different in its silhouette. He can’t identify what it is until the bird lands. In its beak is a sprig of a branch from an olive tree! “I have to show this to the family tonight!”
Everyone is involved in conversation at dinner that evening except Noah. He sits quietly with a smile on his face, waiting for the right time to spring his surprise. His wife, as usual, is the first to notice he hasn’t joined in the conversation. At first she thought there might be something troubling him but seeing the smile he is wearing she thinks, “He must be up to something.” Rather than challenge him outright she waits to see who else will notice.
“You are unusually quiet today father” says Ham.
Japheth chimes in, “You look like you are sitting on a secret too.”
“That I am my sons. I have something to show you all.” He reaches inside his sleeve and produces the olive twig. “This is what my friend just brought me.”
Shem’s wife’s eyes are aglow. “What friend? Where did he or she get it? How did they get it? What does it mean?”
“One question at a time daughter. My friend is a dove. This is his second time to search the earth for me. This time he brought back this little gift to let us know that things are growing once again. We still have to be patient because the Lord has not said it is time to leave our cozy home yet. But that day is surely getting closer.”
Everyone is overjoyed and there is renewed hope flowing through the ark. Everyone is joining in the music coming from Shem’s wife’s lips this week. She is singing with joy and all are blessed by it.
“It’s time for another journey my feathered friend. I wonder what this journey will hold. Off you go.” It has been a week since the gift of the olive branch. Noah has no idea what to expect this time. When evening comes and there is no sign of the dove he concludes that the bird has found a place to rest. “Sleep well my friend. Hopefully we can join you soon.”
It wasn’t but two days later that Noah heard from God. “Go out from the ark, you and your wife, and your sons and your sons’ wives with you. Bring out with you every living thing that is with you of all flesh- birds and animals and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth- that they may swarm on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply on the earth” (verses 16-17).
“IT’S TIME! IT’S TIME!” Noah cries as he runs through the ark.
“It’s time? Time for what?” asks his wife.
“Time to open the door and see what the Lord has made! Time to let Shem’s wife run barefoot in the dirt! Come on family, there’s work to do. Let’s get this ark unloaded. God said to bring everyone and everything out.”
Shouts of joy go up all over the ark. All four men go to the ropes and begin lowering the door. The women begin gathering the tools that will be used to herd the animals along the passageways. Everyone is excited to see what God has prepared for them.
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Father God, I can’t imagine how clean and fresh everything looked that day as the door was lowered. It is so green here in the spring. Was it a spring day there? I wonder what the first thing they saw was when the door descended. Did they rush out a take a look around first or get right to work?
Satan has many ways to distract me from the jobs You have assigned to me. Day dreaming and looking around is one of his favorites. Help me refocus when those temptations arise and get back to the task You set before me. Help me also to do the other tasks that need doing. I tend to get lazy and let them pile up. Forgive me Father. I have one of those tasks waiting now, but I wanted to finish with our time first. Thank You for letting me do just that. Please watch over Steve while I am busy with the next task.