When You’re Waiting For God to Remember

I want you to build an ark, Noah.

A what?

There is going to be a flood, Noah.

A what?

God asked Noah to create something that no one had ever seen because He was about to do something He had never done. And, Noah? Well, he was obedient and did all that God instructed Him to do.

Doesn’t every child that ever went to Sunday School know this story? The righteous Noah, the ark and all of the animals – what a cute story.

It’s cute. It’s inspiring. Yet, my eyes were drawn to these words…

And the Lord shut him in.

I imagine Noah watching the door close and not fully comprehending what was about to happen. The rain begins to beat against the boat and the waves begin to get rocky.

Friends, Noah was on the ark a long, long time. He was in the ark for 370 days. The Lord shut him in and then, nothing except wind and waves for over a year. It occurred to me that building the ark was not the difficult part.  Did people understand what he was doing?  No. Did folks laugh at him and call him crazy? Probably.  But,  that was not the hard part.  After all, Noah had a clear word from the Lord and he was going with it.

The part that is completely overlooked is what happened between the Lord shut him in (Genesis 7:16) and God remembered Noah (Genesis 8:1.)

You know what happened?  He waited. And he waited. Then, he waited some more.

Come on now. Someone wants to testify.

The Lord tells him to get into this boat.  He shuts him in and, then, silence.  Can you even imagine?  Of course you can – because we have all had our moments of waiting on the Lord.

Building the ark was an act of obedience.  What took place inside the ark, however, was pure faith. Faith is sitting in a dark place. It is holding on tight as you are rocked by the waves. It is knowing that, no matter how uncomfortable the circumstances, you are exactly where God wants you to be.

Faith is not being able to see the Lord at work, but knowing that He is and that He will remember you.

 

*A post from the archives because I needed a reminder.  Maybe you did too?

Three Tips for Surviving a Trial

How many times have you wondered if something was God’s will?  Should you take this job or that one?  Should you marry that person or not?  Wouldn’t it be great if there was a neon sign indicating God’s will – this way –>?

This seems to especially be the case during times of trial and pain.  Yet, God is no farther away during hard times than He is in the good times.

He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry. As soon as He hears it, He answers you. – Isaiah 30:19

You can call to Him in your pain because He promises to hear.  In fact, He does one better.  He promises to answer immediately – as soon as He hears your cry.

And, if knowing that He hears you isn’t enough, He also promises to be seen by you.

And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide Himself, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. – Isaiah 30:20

You want to know where He is when you hurt?  He is right there.  Your Lord promises to not hide from you in your time of need.  Look for Him.  Gaze beyond the circumstances to the Savior.  He will be seen.

Does that trial still seem more than you can bear?  Are you afraid you will never find your way out?  Then, be still.  Stop right where you are and listen closely to yet another promise from the Father.

And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it.” – Isaiah 30:21

There it is – that neon sign showing the way.

Are you hurting?  Feeling misunderstood?  Do you find yourself in the midst of a painful trial?

You are not alone and God wants to make sure you know that.  In fact, He gives you three keys to making it through.

  1. Call to Him. – He hears and He answers.
  2. Desperately seek Him. – Your eyes shall see Him.
  3. Stop and listen to Him. – Your ears shall hear a word.

Dance in the Dust

Sometimes we feel as frail as the dust from whence we came.  The hurts and heartaches of this world drive us to our knees and, for a moment, the dirt of the earth is all we are able to recall.  We make ourselves at home in the ashes and everything seems suddenly fragile.

Like Paul, we have those days where there seems to be no rest for body or spirit.

…Our bodies had no rest, but we were afflicted at every turn— fighting without and fear within. – 2 Corinthians 7:5

Morning brings exhaustion and evening brings affliction.  There is fighting and fear and it seems all we have is the dusty ground beneath us.

Then, there are two little words that change everything…

But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us… – 2 Corinthians 7:6

But God.  And, suddenly, we are more than a people of the dust.  We are a people who can rise up from the ashes and dance in the dust.  No matter the trial or tragedy, in the midst of our brokenness, we can say, “But God.”  

And we are reminded that, though it is dust from which we came, we also carry the God breath inside of us.  It is true – the world would have us broken.  The world would have us forever aware of our fragility and fearful of ever rising again.  But God…He desires much more for us.

God calls to us through our pain and bids us rise.

Let those who dwell in the dust 
    wake up and shout for joy. – Isaiah 26:19

We are more than dirt of the earth.  We are the very breath and heart of God.  He redeems our pain.  He restores more than was ever taken.

And He enables us to rise, shout for joy and dance once again.

Desperate in the Dark

For the most part, you can pretend during the day. Life keeps you busy.  The smile stays in place and you can answer “fine” to everyone’s “how are you.”

But, then, the sun goes down and desperation shows up in the dark.  Those moments when it is just you and the silence in the room and there is no more hiding.  And, in that moment, you are face to face with a God whom you adore but do not always understand.  Then what?

That is when you must remember.

Though the ropes of the wicked 
were wrapped around me,
I did not forget Your instruction.  – Psalm 119:61

The psalmist declared that, even when things seemed to be at their worst, he did not forget God’s Word.  He knew God to be a keeper of His promises and a deliverer of His people.  And, so, when the dark settled in and the desperation began to build…

I rise at midnight to thank You. – Psalm 119:62

The psalmist rose to praise the One who was with him in the dark.

It is what the people of God do when the world around them begins to shake and the ground beneath their feet seems to give way.

Think of Paul and Silas in prison.

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. – Acts 16:25

Do not read a verse like that lightly.  These were not superhuman men who were simply having a hymn night in the local jail.  They had been beaten and mocked and placed in chains and locked away in the “inner prison.”  They were in the darkest of places and it was now midnight.  Don’t you think that desperation hung heavy in the air?

So, like the psalmist, they remembered.  And they prayed and they praised.

Because that is what you do in the dark.