Monday, May 25, 2009


My mother is an amazing woman – my counselor, friend, and all-round hero. When our daughters were young, and Roy and I needed to attend a conference, my mom would wave good-bye to my dad (who is also wonderful) and travel the three hours to stay with our girls. Mom would cook and clean and do our laundry all day, while the girls were at school. And when the girls got home, they’d watch movies and eat popcorn all evening. Roy and I would return home to a sparkling house and tearful children – sad to see Grandma Cooley leaving! However, after Grandma left, more fun was in store. Did I mention that my mom did the laundry? And never let it be said that my mother left a job half done. Oh no! She also put away our clothes – wherever she thought they should go. Thus, after Grandma Cooley left, our household began what we called the Laundry Treasure Hunt. My husband’s underwear was discovered with his T-shirts, his socks with my shorts. The girls found their T-shirts hung-up in my closet and their jeans rolled like tubes. But each time I had to call my mom to ask where a favorite shirt or team uniform might have been stashed, I hope I was adamant in expressing my thanks. You see, to me it was a tremendous blessing that she took the initiative to help me by doing the laundry. The fact that she didn’t get everything put away exactly right was a secondary matter. Taking the initiative – when it’s done with pure motives – is a tender expression of love. Did I mention that my mother is amazing?

(You’ll need this Scripture for figuring times and days later on…)
Gen. 7:11,13
– “In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, on the seventeenth day of the second month--on that day...Noah…entered the ark.”

Gen. 8:6-12 – “After forty days Noah opened the window he had made in the ark and sent out a raven, and it kept flying back and forth until the water had dried up from the earth. Then he sent out a dove to see if the water had receded from the surface of the ground. But the dove could find no place to set its feet because there was water over all the surface of the earth; so it returned to Noah in the ark. He reached out his hand and took the dove and brought it back to himself in the ark. He waited seven more days and again sent out the dove from the ark. When the dove returned to him in the evening, there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf! Then Noah knew that the water had receded from the earth. He waited seven more days and sent the dove out again, but this time it did not return to him.”
  • Notice God didn’t tell Noah to DO anything. Noah waited forty days, and HE decided to send out a raven…and then a dove, when the raven didn’t work out. And when the dove came back to him, HE waited seven more days and tried again. God was silent through it all, but Noah didn’t seem to get mad at God when Noah’s initiatives failed. And then when the dove didn’t return, did Noah jump off the boat? No. He patiently waited some more rather than shaking his fist at God. I could learn from that.

Gen. 8:13-14 – “By the first day of the first month of Noah’s six hundred and first year, the water had dried up from the earth. Noah then removed the covering from the ark and saw that the surface of the ground was dry. By the twenty-seventh day of the second month the earth was completely dry.”

  • Okay, if I’m Mrs. Noah, and I’ve been on that boat 318 days – Noah pops the top on the ark, and I see dry land. I want off that boat! But no. Noah waits the 30 days of the first month and 27 days into the second month until the earth was completely dry. How difficult would it be to wait when everything in your reasoning mind says you should, you could, you deserve to be off that ark?

Gen. 8:15-19 – “Then God said to Noah, ‘Come out of the ark, you and your wife and your sons and their wives. Bring out every kind of living creature that is with you--the birds, the animals, and all the creatures that move along the ground--so they can multiply on the earth and be fruitful and increase in number upon it.’ So Noah came out, together with his sons and his wife and his sons' wives. All the animals and all the creatures that move along the ground and all the birds--everything that moves on the earth--came out of the ark, one kind after another.”

  • Finally, God’s voice! Scripture has not recorded God speaking to Noah since seven days prior to the flood – that’s 382 days of silence. During God’s silence, Noah had to step out on his own initiative, fueled by gut-level passion, not prickly emotion.

Gen. 8:20-22 – “Then Noah built an altar to the LORD and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it. The LORD smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: ‘Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done. As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease’” (emphasis added).

  • We don’t know if Noah understood the concept of “clean and unclean” animals before the ark experience. However, God made the distinction when bringing the animals to the ark, and Noah’s first activity on dry land was an offering of thanks to God with the new lesson he’d learned. Notice that Scripture records the response of God’s heart, not His words to Noah. I love that. It implies that Noah was able to know God’s heart as well as hear God’s voice. A tender relationship renewed on a new earth.

Lord, I’ve come to believe that You don’t mind me taking the initiative while I wait on You to speak – as long as I can accept failed attempts without bitterness or devastating disappointment. But I must be confident of Your clear voice at some point and then remember to worship You, when I hear it. Help me to recognize Your voice, Father. Help me to hear it clearly.

No comments: