The word is translated “long suffering” in some versions. Patience, it’s something we joke about. Something everyone says they need more of. Something that you’ll hear people warn you, “Don’t pray for patience or you’ll get plenty of opportunities for using it!”
We often hear of “the patience of Job,” but have you ever thought about the patience of Noah?
Noah followed some incredible instructions to build something no person had ever seen: a massive ship, an ark of safety. He worked on that for more than a century (one hundred twenty years) while enduring insult and ridicule, without seeing anyone respond to God’s truth and grace.
But that was just one portion of patience.
When the flood actually broke loose, and earth’s foundations began to collapse, Noah’s family was tucked safely in the ark for a long, long forty day and night rain siege. After the rain stopped, there was still one hundred fifty days of floating across a vast limitless sea. No land in sight; only an immeasurable expanse of waves and sky. A globe of water hung in space, with one ship, containing the family and animals that would repopulate the earth, traveling the water’s surface.
Do you think Noah felt lonely? Fearful? Like God had forgotten him and his family?
No way had God forgotten him. Look at how Genesis chapter eight opens:
[box]“But God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the livestock that were with him in the ark.”[/box]
The phrase “God remembered” doesn’t imply that God had forgotten Noah at all, but is an expression of endearment. It’s the language of God’s devotion to those He loves. It’s the same phrase used when God responded to the tears of a barren woman crying out to Him for a child. God remembered, but He had never forgotten.
This is Divine compassion at work.
Nine months after their journey began, the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat. And Noah and his family waited. They would continue to wait forty days before Noah would send out his first scout—a raven in flight—to investigate (Genesis 8:6–7). And still they waited. Then three times, at seven-day intervals, Noah sent out a dove with the hope that it would bring back evidence that the land was dry enough for them to exit the ark. After the dove returned to Noah with a freshly plucked olive leaf—imagine the excitement and hope that the family must have experienced!
But they would continue to wait two more months before God would give the instructions to leave the ark.
Bible commentators differ a smidge on the exact number of days that Noah and his family made the ark their home (along with an entire zoo full of animals), but when you add up the 40 days of rain, 150 days of floating the globe, 99 days of water “subsiding” until the ark rests, and then 40 days before sending the raven, 21 days for all three dove trips, plus the long wait for the instructions to leave the ark, Barnes’ Bible Commentary gives us 365 days as the total time Noah spent on the ark.
When you think about the 120 years leading up to the flood, when Noah was busy preparing for this cataclysmic event, the year on the ark is just a small slice of that. Noah must’ve learned patience. And the first thing he does when he leaves the confinement of the ark, is to present sacrifices and offerings of worship to God.
Read how he’s presented in the hall of faith:
[box]By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith (Hebrews 11:7).[/box]
This man of faith, lived in reverent (worshipful) fear (awe) of the Almighty God he served, and he was patient. He waited.
We’re in a waiting season now and it’s helpful to be reminded of the faithfulness and patience of God-fearing men and women who’ve gone before us, and especially to focus on the goodness of God to “remember” those He loves.
This week we’re in Dallas for more appointments with LeRoy’s Neurology team. Thank you all for praying for our appointment with the infusion doctor last week, I’m sorry I’m just now giving you an update on that.
The update is: we wait.
There will be another delay in treatment, our application for the free drug program was approved in 2017, but we learned that it has to be resubmitted for 2018. That was disappointing, but thankfully this infusion center is working with us to get that process in the works and hopefully, LeRoy can get his first infusion in two weeks.
We are trusting that the delay is God’s perfect timing for reasons that He knows is best, but I’m concerned for my dear husband. He’s getting weaker and less mobile, plus the continued pain is so hard. But he continues to trust His faithful Father. He’s a man who walks with God.
That’s the description we have of Noah. What an honor it would be to have Scripture describe you this way:
[box]“These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God.” (Genesis 6:9)[/box]
Noah walked with God. And God used his steadfast patience to rescue his family and the animal kingdom. God used Noah to provide a picture of our ark of safety that would come: the gospel rescue mission through the work of Christ on the cross—our ark of safety.
What a Savior! That’s Who we’re trusting in as we wait.
LeRoy and I are extremely grateful for your faithfulness to intercede for us, we can’t begin to express how very much that means to us! Even though this is a long, hard season, God continues to show up in tender and faith-affirming ways. And the comments you leave here are some of those sweet expressions of care that remind us of God’s faithfulness. Thank you.