I recently preached a sermon on Noah, and I love going back over those old favorite Bible stories because God always shows me something new, or something I need to learn better, or most likely, something I need to learn again because I didn't learn it well the first time. If you know the story of Noah, you might remember that God told him to build a great big boxy boat and Noah did just that. And then God put Noah and his family and 2 of every living animal and 7 of certain kinds of animals on that great big boat and then God shut the door. And Noah and his family and all of those animals were on that boat for about a year. And what I realized this time around was that the Bible leads us to think that God didn't communicate with Noah that whole time they were all boxed in on that great big boat. It only had one window, and that window was really high up, so they couldn't see what was going on outside. And they weren't hearing from God, so all they could do was wait. No matter how boxed in they felt or how stinky it got inside that boat with all those animals or how that big old boat wasn't anything like the Carnival Cruise they were hoping for, all they could do was wait on God and trust in what He already said He was going to do - destroy the earth with a flood and then create a new covenant with Noah. Noah learned real nitty gritty depend-on-God kind of faith on that boat. And when he finally got off that boat, He worshiped God, and God did what He said He was going to do! And now we get to see beautiful amazing rainbows when it rains, and we remember what God did, and we remember that God said He won't ever destroy the earth with a flood again.
This summer, when I couldn't bear to see one more doctor or answer one more question about a child's sleeping, eating, learning, playing, and pooping habits, when I felt boxed in by a reality that I didn't ask for, I learned a deeper, nitty gritty, depend-on-God-even-more kind of faith. And when I paused to wonder why God wasn't speaking to all of this mess, God showed me Noah, and I heard God telling me in my heart that I had to depend on what God already said.
God said Come to me, all who are weary, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28).Noah taught me that when I feel all boxed in and I can't hear God because of all the mess, that I can depend on what God has already said. Noah taught me that faith is acting on God's Words even when I can't hear God's voice, even when I'm stuck on a stinky smelly boat ride that seems like it will never end. Noah taught me to trust God even when I can't see or hear His voice. He'll do what He says He'll do.
God said He would gather my tears in a bottle. (Psalm 56:8).
God said to everything there is a season. (Ecclesiastes 3).
God said your faith can do great things (Luke 17:6).
God said I don't have to be afraid (Joshua 10:25).
God said He can make something good come from things that go wrong (Romans 8:28).
God said He loves me. (John 3:16).
Sometimes, our messes are so deep that it's hard to hear Your Voice. Teach us to depend on Your Word, to rely on the things that You have already spoken, and to place our trust in You as we live our faith in the day to day trenches of appointments and work and life.
Thank you, God, that You do what You say You're going to do.
No matter what storm is buffeting you today, may God increase your faith and your trust in Him because He keeps His promises.