I have been struck hard by a simple fact I discovered while studying the story of Noah. One single act of obedience lasted longer than I could ever hope too live.
The time frame we are looking at here is 120 years. Noah received the call from the Lord (Genesis 6:14) to build an ark and did not see the end of his act of obedience for 120 years. That is longer than you or I will probably live. Unlike this one woman who reported lived to over 122 years old (Jeanne Calment), most of us will die long before then.
But let's say for argument sake that I might live 120 years. Could I possibly follow one path of obedience that long?
I need to break this down so you can see the craziness that has been my thought process lately. (It might not be pretty.)
Almost two years ago now, God gave a very specific call on my life. Much like a message straight from Heaven sent to guide me down a path I would not have chosen for myself. To me it sounded a little like, "why don't you build a large boat the size of one and a half football fields in the middle of this grassy patch, nestled miles and miles away from any body of water." Although the actual words were 'write these stories'; it might as well have been an impossible task.
After much struggle, argument and all-out disobedience I finally caved and started to type.
I had no idea how long I would have to type. I assumed I would 'humour' God and write the story that filtered through my brain and then be done with my part of the bargain. Only God had other plans. Before I completed writing out my first story, God had given me three more.
To make a long story short twenty two months after the first step of obedience I am still typing stories. I have six completed, three more in the writing stages and seventeen more outlined. There seems to be no end in sight. I am not complaining ... honest. I am amazed. And when I read about Noah's 120 years I am humbled.
See, I have wanted to give up and toss the whole baby out with the bath water so many times. That might be close to 120 times. I have questioned God over and over again at His logic and His reasoning. I have caught myself saying, "maybe I misunderstood God. Surely He doesn't want me to write stories like this."
And folks, I haven't even gotten to the hard part. I may have written six stories but have only let friends and family read one or two. I haven't yet sent a single manuscript to an agent or publisher. I technically haven't gotten to the part where I must face the embarrassment or humility of doing something for God that doesn't make any sense. I am nowhere near what Noah would have felt.
I am ashamed. I don't have to write out in the open where everyone can see what I'm doing and mock me and tease me for my obedience. Yet I am still afraid to take that step of not going back. It is kinda like building as much of my ark as I can in the confines of my own garage so no one knows what I'm doing. I wonder if that counts as obedience at all?
What if this call on my life is to last the rest of my life? Can I forge through all the obstacles over years and years and still have the faith to persevere when the storms hit?
My family and I own the movie Evan Almighty. It is a funny, family film about a modern day Noah. God visits a US Congressman, Evan Baxter and tells him to build an ark in upstate New York. God is persistent in convincing the validity of this plan even when Evan is not totally convinced he believes in God. But the 'lord' in the film, played by Morgan Freeman uses many things to humble Evan and show him that only God's way will prosper.
Once Evan was fully on board, he endured his family leaving, his sanity questioned and his job threatened - all to follow the plan that God laid out for him. Am I prepared to do that?
There are a couple of scenes in the movie I wanted to tell you about but I will stick to one today. Maybe the other one can be a totally different post another day??
After the ark is built and the animals are loaded, the neighbours and camera crews still stand outside the boat mocking and teasing Noah for his craziness. The 'lord' had given him a date, September 22 midday. And it was precisely that time. Noah stood there trying to convince the people to get on the Ark quick before the flood came. The people looked up and saw blue skies and no clouds and remarked how it had been the driest year on record. Just face it Noah, you were wrong about what God told you.
As Noah lets this thought sink in, he cries out to God, "is it too much to ask for a little precipitation?"
Is it too much to ask God for some confirmation that You are there, that Your are sovereign and that I didn't just make a fool out of myself and my family for no reason?
Do you ever find yourself asking for a fleece? A little rain just to prove he can?
I find myself standing there so many times, especially since the writing began. Our minds are a curious thing. They rationalize and compartmentalize things so that we can only see finite answers to our problems and dilemmas. In the movie, God said there would be a flood so Evan needed to build an ark. In Evan's mind that meant the water had to come from the sky. (I won't say any more in case you haven't seen the movie.)
God never has to fit within our finite explanations. In fact, I wonder if He chooses not to so many times just to prove to us we aren't god. We are His creation and He can do whatever He wants to.
Is there something in your life that God wants to do but you can't make any sense out of it? Has God called you to do something for Him that stands outside of logic and reason? Maybe he wants to shatter your concept of 'how' just to open your mind to 'why'.
Lord, I do not understand what You are doing in my life with these stories. please help me not to try to figure it out but to continue to walk through in obedience - even if it takes 120 years for me to see what You have been up to.
In case you are curious, Evan Almighty is a fun family film. There are a few references to things you may not want young children hearing or repeating, however if your children are older - mine ar 12 - 16, we all had a good, clean laugh. Check out Plugged In for all the details.