One more bit of my writing this week from Genesis. More time with Noah and the Mrs. in that ark of his. Like the previous post, this will appear on my devotions blog in a few weeks and like the previous post I just can’t wait…
Now there’s something we seldom wait for.
We like coming and going on our time table,
thank you very much.
How many times have we scene it play out in the movies? Someone is told to wait – wait for the signal, wait for the order, stay put until…but no, the forlorn character can’t wait, but steps out, often fatally, putting everyone and everything in jeopardy. We squirm and shout our brains out at the screen, the passion intensified, no doubt, because deep down we know that’s what we do.
Who wants to wait for it for 40 + 150 + 150 + 40 + 7 + (please, enough already! not another digit! you hear me!) + 7 (dang! you had to, didn’t you!). Seriously, who wants to wait for that? Especially during the final two sets of seven while Noah plays with his birds? I mean, think of it.
Think of Noah’s unnamed wife.
Look up “stir crazy” and you’ll see a picture of Noah’s wife with “unnamed” in the caption.
Can you hear her voice?
“Why don’t you just crawl out the port hole? For once in your life be a man! Stop your whirling and twirling and show some initiative. Do something constructive. Do something!”
Maybe Noah didn’t need his wife to say this because he was busy thinking it himself. Perhaps she bore all of this delay and suspense sitting stoically in her recliner right beside his. Maybe not. And maybe this explains what (spoiler!) happened with Noah’s son Ham. Ham was just exposed too long in the box and he spoiled (told you).
But the fact is God shut them in. And God told them when it was time to leave.
God shuts us in.
We don’t like that. Well, we like the “Go out” part. We just don’t like waiting for it.
We don’t like that maddeningly frustrating counsel of James – it’s so un-American, so in-human:
“Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way” (James 1:3 in the Message; thanks Eugene Peterson for making this annoying counsel even more annoying).
We don’t like our faith-life forced into the open. And one challenge at a time from one direction. Please. And we reserve the right to do all we see fit to get out of things prematurely and then pat our own backs at our remarkable initiative and “faith.” How many of our prayers for healing and recovering for ourselves or others are driven by our own myopic desires to escape the box we’ve been shut up in, as we lower our tresses (or tell others to lower theirs), Rapunzel-like, through the port hole to make good the escape? And we shout “Just believe!” as we urge them or ourselves to rappel down the side of the box.
Oh, what faith (aka insanity) it takes to wait for his “Go out” even though we risk our box becoming our tomb. Because that healing, liberating, life-giving word comes – even though we fear we’ll be a-molderin’ in the grave before we hear it. In his time. At the right time.
Wait for it.
And once you’ve heard it. Get. Out.
What are you waiting for?