Behind the Scenes

“Noah did everything just as God commanded him.” – Genesis 6:22

The other day in a staff meeting Pastor David asked us all to think of one character from the Bible we’d like to talk to (someone other than Jesus).  I struggled to come up with an answer.  I realized that with each person I thought of, the question I had for them would have been the same.  How did you hold on to faith?  During times of boredom or difficulty, isolation or weariness, how did you keep the faith?

At multiple points in Noah’s story the Biblical author names Noah’s obedience.  Yet at each celebration of his successful completion of a daunting task we are left without details.  I want to know how did he keep the faith?

According to scripture and Jewish tradition, the ark was larger than a football field, with three levels, built upon a mountain top, and took no less than 120 years to finish.  That is 120 years to doubt; to doubt oneself; to doubt God’s call; to doubt God.  That is 120 years to be questioned, derided, and maligned by your neighbors, your community, and possibly even your family.  That is 120 years of saying no to other good opportunities, intriguing possibilities, and sensible choices.

How does one stay focused and continue to follow God?  Summarizing the journey with, “Noah did everything just as God commanded him” feels like it’s shortchanging the process — which is hard because you and I, we live in the process.

We are continuously in the middle of story.  We have heard God’s call to stand with the oppressed, forgive our debtors, love those around us and yet some days it’s not so easy.  Some days, there’s doubt, there’s hurt, and there’s nagging questions weighing us down.  How do we rise?  How do we take another step of faith?  How do we trust that the one who began a good work in us will be faithful to complete it?

I don’t know how Noah, or Abraham, or Miriam, or Moses would answer the question, “How did you keep the faith?”  I only know what helps me.

I need a community that will listen to my struggle.  I need a people who will pray with, and for, me.  I need to be reminded of who God is and who God has made me to be.  And I need testimonies, from scriptures and from today, that show me how God works through us to fashion joyful, beautiful, and transformation wonders.

It’d be nice to hear how Noah struggled but mostly, I’m just thankful that the God who sustained and inspired Noah is the same God present in our lives.