Have you ever considered the incredible faith and patience of Noah? Sure, there were the 120 years it took to build the ark (Gen. 6:3) during which he preached repentance to the people of his day with only 7 responding – his wife, his 3 sons, and their wives. But consider a few more facts that must have tried his faith:
1) Collection and Care of Animals. When faced with great responsibility, it’s natural to wonder, “How am I going to pull this off?” In Noah’s case, he was to take 7 pairs of every clean animal and 1 pair of every unclean animal with him in the ark “to keep them alive on the face of the earth.” (Gen. 7:3). In their book, The Genesis Flood, Morris and Whitcomb estimate the number of creatures at 35,000. But at 450 feet long and 75 feet wide, the ark God designed could have easily handled this number. With 1.5 million cubic feet of storage, it was the largest vessel in history until the steel ships of the 19th century. Nor did Noah have to roam the world trapping animals, for God brought the animals to him (Gen. 7:15). Creation scientists say this may have been when God first instilled His creatures with the instinct of migration, fleeing to safety when they sense disaster approaching. It was also likely at this time that they began to hibernate, making Noah’s job of feeding and cleaning easier than we’ve imagined.
2) Anxiety in the Storm. Have you ever had to weather a ferocious wind storm? Imagine Noah’s experience – never seeing rain before, huddled in the dark of the ark listening to all of nature (rain, wind, earthquakes, volcanoes, and geysers) explode around you, while you and your family are tossed about on the waves of a newly formed sea. This was the first and greatest natural disaster in history. The anxiety must have been terrible. Of course, they had God’s promise to keep them calm: “I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall come into the ark, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you. And of every living thing of all flesh, you shall bring two of every sort into the ark to keep them alive with you.” (Gen. 6:18-19) They had God’s promise of protection. So why be anxious? But then, we have God’s promises too: “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” “All things work together for God to those who love God.” “Casting all your cares upon Him because He cares for you.” And yet, even with thousands of assurances, don’t you still get anxious at times?
3) Waiting to Disembark. The Bible says the rain persisted 40 days and 40 nights with the water remaining at its highest level for 150 days. Then it slowly began to recede. But not quickly. It took 221 more days for the waters to subside and the earth to dry up enough for Noah’s family to disembark from the ark. Remember too that during their voyage and most of the time they rested on Mount Ararat, they couldn’t see what was happening around them because it wasn’t until Day 314 that Noah was allowed to remove the covering from the ark. Like us, he had no calendar of upcoming events or road map of how his life was going to turn out. All he had was God’s assurance that He would lead him one day at a time. So he waited and waited until the all-clear signal was given.
What can we learn from Noah’s experience? Regardless of the dangers through which we pass, God is good and can be trusted. He gave Noah the wisdom to build the ark. He brought the animals to Noah. And once the rain began, the Bible says the Lord, not Noah, shut the door of the ark. (Gen. 7:16) That was the most significant reminder that the good hand of God was upon him, for it assured Noah of his security in God. As such, it wasn’t unlike Jesus’ promise to us, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone pluck them out of My hand. My Father who gave them to Me is greater than all, and no one is able to pluck them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one.” (John 10:28-30) So trust Him, dear friend, no matter what trial you’re facing . Trust Him to care for you and to carry you safely through it to the other side.