Waiting for the Sprig

After 150 days, exactly five months from the time the flood began, the boat came to rest on the mountains of Ararat. Two and a half months later, as the waters continued to go down, other mountain peaks became visible.

After another forty days, Noah opened the window he had made in the boat and released a raven. The bird flew back and forth until the floodwaters on the earth had dried up. He also released a dove to see if the water had receded and it could find dry ground. But the dove could find no place to land because the water still covered the ground. So it returned to the boat, and Noah held out his hand and drew the dove back inside. – Genesis 8:3-9

Live Oak at Fort Martin Scott | Fredericksburg, Texas | April 2021

I’m not good at waiting. Perhaps that has a bit to do with my get-in-the-car-and-go approach to life. But even more, I am committed to getting things done. Hence, I multi-task. Waiting for Diane, I can be frustrated and spend time tapping my foot. Or I can check my email, catch up on a Words with Friends game. Time well spent, I say. But in those moments when I do choose to power down and wait patiently, there is simply more room in my heart and mind for God. 

Walk a little slower. Speak a little softer. Listen a little harder. For the world is loud, and God whispers. 

Noah isn’t put forward as a hero of patience. But certainly he was a patient man. He sends out a raven and a dove, and he waits. And even before that he has had to wait for five months, two-and-a-half months, and another 40 days. 

Admittedly he is trapped in a boat with water all around. He has no choice but than to wait. It doesn’t matter whether or not he’s bored. The animals may be restless. His family may be wearing on each other. He may have a headache, or a toothache, or just a bad day. But there’s no TV to watch. Maybe he has a book to read, or a story to tell. But there was work to be done. There are animals to feed, waste to dispose of, and the general management of the ark must be considered. 

Perhaps our problem (or mine!) is that there are so many distractions. I must sometimes be reminded when complaining, that I am dealing with first-world problems. The need to get things done: The pressure of the rat race: The press of opportunities that are sure to go away: All these distract me from waiting for God’s next move. 

Jesus reminds us that we cannot add a moment of time to our life’s span. We have much less control over things than we imagine. And while we are not stuck in a large boat surrounded by water and waiting for dry ground to appear, we are in a world where things happen that are completely beyond our control. Any illusion of the contrary is only an illusion. 

I’m not advocating that we just do nothing. I would not be the one to suggest that at all. In fact, I do believe in moving forward when the path is clear and the call of God is obvious. Noah had to move forward in building the ark and readying it for the deluge. But I will try today to be much more patient as I wait – whatever the cause for the delay. And as I wait, I’ll remember Noah’s 150 days, his additional 2-½ months, and his 40 more days. And the dove. And the sprig of the olive tree that the dove will bring. I’m believing that the wait will be well worth it. 

Click here, or on the podcast player below to listen to an audio version of this blog post.

Sometimes our hearts need to be broken before the sweetness of Jesus' love finds its way there. God used Peter's sermon that Pentecost Sunday to do just that. Luke reports that, "Peter’s words pierced their hearts, and they said to him and to the other apostles, 'Brothers, what should we do?'” Repent and be baptized Peter says. And you will be saved. That calling remains true today, and continues to strike the hearts of many. 

  1. Natalie Lancaster McCaskill said:

    Excellent! And what a beautiful picture of a great oak tree!

    • Thanks Natalie. Those are some beautiful giant oak trees. Quite old, as I recall. Best to you!


  2. linda orsa Aves said:

    I want to plant an olive tree so there will be more sprigs to be found. 😉

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