But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and livestock with him in the boat. He sent a wind to blow across the earth, and the floodwaters began to recede. 2 The underground waters stopped flowing, and the torrential rains from the sky were stopped. 3 So the floodwaters gradually receded from the earth. After 150 days, 4 exactly five months from the time the flood began, the boat came to rest on the mountains of Ararat. 5 Two and a half months later, as the waters continued to go down, other mountain peaks became visible. – Genesis 8:1-5
I’m a get-there kind of guy. When it’s time to go, I’m ready to get in the car. Never mind that I may have to go back to retrieve something I forgot. I’m going. Now. And if we’re walking around a beautiful garden (like the one above at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC), I’m thinking about our next way point. I may stop for a moment or two and take a photo, but I’m thinking of getting to the next stop.
You can miss a lot of things living that way. Of course you can get to some places as well. It’s not a total bust.
But sometimes you have no control, and you must simply deal with the limitations of space and time. Such is life these days for believers. We are living in the days following Jesus’ death for our sins (time time of the flood), and his resurrection from the grave (the end of the flood), but before Jesus’ triumphant return and the Great Last Day (which is far greater than mere deliverance from the ark onto the newly-dry ground).
But there is a parallel here. Just like Noah on day 152 we’re living in expectation of a more complete deliverance. It will be weeks before Noah is actually able to exit the ark with all the animals. Only then will the fullness of his deliverance become his new reality. And we’ve been delivered from our sins, and are waiting for the consummation of our redemption.
So what do we do in the mean time? I’m not sure there is a great lesson to learn from Noah here. We don’t have much information about how he and his family passed the time with the animals as they waited for the waters to recede and the dry ground to appear. We do know, however, that he waited. And as the waters receded more and more he sent out a raven and a dove. Would they find a place to land? Would it be safe to venture from the ark?
This is where the analogy breaks down. We don’t have to discern whether or not it is safe to go from the ark. We are called to go into all the world. We’re not to be of the world. But we are to be in the world. We’re in the world as victors through Jesus’ redemption. We’re not bullet proof. We can still be harassed, ridiculed, and even persecuted for our faithful witness and life.
But it is day 152. The waters have subsided. The rains have stopped. The ark has settled. It’s just a matter of time. We may have to wait. But we wait in hope, and in the confidence of God’s faithfulness. He will bring to completion that which he has started through Jesus. Just as Noah was certain one day to set his foot on dry ground, we are certain to stand with all believers in the fullness of God’s redemption. And as we wait, we don’t lose hope!
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