What’s Going On, Mrs. Noah?

How would you have felt? I just ask you!

My husband comes home with a wild look in his eyes, calls for our sons, grabs an axe, and takes off for the woods. No explanation. Not a hint of when they’d be home again. What about dinner? No consideration – none at all.

And that was just the first day.

We’d always been a normal, respectable family. My husband had always been a good man – everybody said so. My sister, Irene, and my best friend, Nadine, said I was the lucky one. And they were right.

So what happened to him? It took forever but I finally pieced together some of the story. God had talked to him. I know, I know. It sounds crazy. Just wait ’til you hear the rest.

God told him to build a great big boat. We didn’t live by a lake or the ocean or even a river, you know, but a boat he started to build. In our backyard. Where everybody could see it. Imagine that.

The bigger that boat got the worse it got. People gawking. People laughing. And then, people avoiding us.

Nadine for one. We’d been friends since we were little girls. We met at the well every single day. No more. My best friend lost. For what? For my crazy husband’s crazy boat.

But it got worse.

My husband, God bless him, started to tell our neighbors that it was going to rain and rain and that the only way to escape was to get on his giant boat. I saw their faces. Why couldn’t he see what was coming? They laughed in his face. “What is rain, you crazy old man? Why should we be afraid of rain, whatever that is?”

I didn’t go to the well anymore. I sent one of my daughters-in-law. It was just too embarrassing. The whispered jokes. The pointing fingers. The eyes that wouldn’t meet mine. No, I stayed at home as much as possible.

Just when I thought it couldn’t get worse, it got worse.

The boat, the ark – that’s what my husband called it – was finished. My husband and my sons started packing it with food and water and all kinds of supplies. One day, out of curiosity, I took a look inside. There were rooms for people, but there were many, many stalls and cages and coops and hutches. What insanity was this?

And then animals began to arrive. Yes, that’s what I said. They began to arrive – no shepherd driving them, no keeper of any kind. They were just coming and getting on the ark. So strange. At first everyone stayed away. I stayed in the house. There were animals we’d never seen before – animals with sharp teeth and huge claws. But, after a couple of days of this, the neighbors came out to watch. Irene, my sister, came with her children. “Sister, what is going on? What is your husband doing?”

I didn’t know, but I knew that it wasn’t him who was gathering these animals. I was beginning to think that maybe God had talked to him. “Irene, I don’t know what is going on, but I think you better get your family ready to get on the ark with us.”

“You’ve got to be kidding! Are you as crazy as your husband? I’m not getting on that ark.”

And then the sky started to look different. Describing it is hard. Gray instead of blue. It looked…well, it looked angry.

My husband told us it was time to get on the ark. He said that God was going to save us. He said that God would take care of us. I still didn’t understand, but I was afraid. More afraid of staying in my house than I was afraid of all those animals on that big boat. My husband saw that I was afraid. When I was about to lose it, he took my face in his hands and looked in my eyes and he said, “God will provide for us. He will save us.”

And I believed him.

I packed the house up and we moved into the ark. The neighbors jeered at us as we went, but I said nothing. Just as I was about to go into the big door of the ark, something wet fell on my cheek. I touched the wet spot and then another drop fell. I looked up at the angry sky and, suddenly, my face was wet. Was this it? Was this rain?

My husband called out to our neighbors once more, begging them to come on the ark with us, promising that God would save them. They laughed, they yelled evil words, and a few threw clods of dirt and even stones.

We went in the ark, but that big door was still open. Just as I was about to ask how we would shut the door, it creaked and began to move. A chill went up my spine. No one was touching that door, but it was definitely closing.

As soon as the door completely closed and my sons latched it tight, there was a booming noise and then the sound of an avalanche of drops of water hitting the wood of the ark.

The next sound I heard was the most horrible sound I have ever heard. It  was my neighbors, my friends, my family crying out for the door to be opened. My own sister was out there. My best friend was out there. Everything I had known was out there.

I caught my husband’s eyes on me and the peace I saw in his eyes instantly stopped the panic that had begun to well up in me. He believed God. He really believed God.

It was enough for me at that moment that my husband believed. But that was not the end.

The day that we knew the ark was floating. The day that I faced the fact that my sister and my friend were gone. The day that I realized those ferocious animals were not ferocious at all. The day we saw that our food supplies never seemed to diminish. The day that I realized that the stink that should be coming from such a huge company of animals and people was not happening. The day that I realized how much I loved my daughters-in-law. The day that I remembered that my husband was not crazy but was a very good man.

And then the day that God opened the door.

Sunshine, green grass, solid ground, safety, and a new start.

God had torn me away from everything I knew and depended on and He had given me something new. He had saved us and provided for us.

He had not talked to me the way he had talked to my husband, but He had shown me who He was and He had provided. No, He had not talked to me, but, like my husband, I believed!

 

This is the second story in the series, Through Her Eyes. Click here to see the first in the series.

Photography from Unsplash

May They Find Us Faithful

Many years ago, when my children were little I heard Steve Green sing these words:

“Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful
May the fire of our devotion light their way
May the footprints that we leave
Lead them to believe
And the lives we live inspire them to obey
Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful.”

Those words stuck with me while we were raising our children, but I think that now, as a grandparent, they instruct me in the way I am to interact with my grandchildren. And the timing seems much more urgent. My oldest grandchild is almost five years old. In another eight years or so, her beliefs about God for the rest of her life will be pretty much established.

Eight years passes by with frightening speed.

So, what can we do to make sure that we leave footprints for them to follow?

1. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your might.

Sounds kind of scriptural, right? If our love for God is not real and strong and devoted, it won’t last and it won’t be obvious to our children. You know how it is – you can preach and preach to your family, but if they don’t see it modeled, you might as well preach to a rock.

I always think of Paul when I think of modeling the Christian faith. Everywhere he went he was genuine and unashamed of his love for the God who had changed him.

Just one example – read the words he wrote to his son in the faith, Timothy.

“But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me. Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.”

2 Timothy 1:12b-13

After Paul reminded Timothy of his own faith, he was able to instruct Timothy to listen to his words and to follow in his footsteps.

2. Keep your memories of God’s power in your life fresh.

We all have stories of what God has done in our lives – how He saved us; how He has provided for us; how He has made us strong enough for trials – all kinds of stories. The Israelites who were brought out of Egypt had stories too – stories that God expected them to tell to their children.

Take the crossing of the Red Sea, for example. If you had experienced such a thing – tons of water pushed back by an invisible hand, walking through the sea on dry land, and then watching your enemies destroyed when the waters were allowed to rush back – would you have had any doubts about the power of God?

“Israel saw the great power that the LORD used against the Egyptians, so the people feared the LORD, and they believed in the LORD and in his servant Moses.”

Exodus 14:31

And would you ever have stopped talking about what you had seen God do?

And yet they did stop talking about it.

And a generation grew up who didn’t even know the story. A generation who did not serve the one, true, living God.

God has given you stories and you need to be telling them to your family.

3. Pray

Pray for yourself to really know and love the one true God.

Pray that God would keep you faithful.

Pray that God would shine the light through you to your family and those around you.

Pray that those who come behind you would follow as Timothy followed his mentor, Paul, and his mother, Eunice, and his grandmother, Lois.

Pray, remembering that it is God who is faithful to complete the good work He has begun in all of us.

Never Leaves, Never Abandons

Me? I am, as the hymn says, prone to wander. I leave the path. I abandon my good intentions.

God? Never!

No matter what I do or don’t do.

He never leaves me; never abandons me.

No matter if I leave my first love.

He never leaves me; never abandons me; never stops loving me.

No matter if I forget to pray; forget to listen.

He never leaves me; never abandons me; never stops calling me back.

No matter if I turn and run away.

He never leaves me; never abandons me; never closes the door to me.

Never leaves; never abandons…

Always stays; always holds…

Always loves.

 

Today I’m joining a wonderful group of writers over at Five Minute Friday – writing for five minutes on a different prompt word every week. Come on over and join in!

 

photography from Unsplash

Hiding From God

If I could go back to that moment, would I make a different decision? I’ve thought about it a lot and I think I would. Or…am I just hiding behind a facade of pious thoughts?

Heaven knows I’ve done my share of hiding since that day…

I remember that day as if it was just yesterday. A lovely morning…of course, they were all lovely mornings. I didn’t know back then just how lovely our garden was – how completely perfect it was. I wish…well, of course, I wish we could go back, but it’s not to be. All because of that minute in time when I listened to some pretty lies and made the wrong decision.

Sometimes I wake up early in the morning with bits and pieces of memories of that day swirling up out of my dreams – nightmares really. The beautiful tree…the glistening scales of the serpent…the dewy skin of the fruit…the deadly words that seemed like those of an angel. The pictures in my mind make me want to run away and hide. I’ll never escape that memory…never get away from the shame.

I wish…oh, how I wish I could relive that day and change it. But I can’t. I swallowed the false, traitorous, deceptive words and then the fruit.

And, for the first time in my life, all I wanted to do was hide. And I did. I hid behind my husband. I convinced him to eat too and then I was able to hide behind him.

The relief was short-lived. The Lord had come into our garden and was looking for us. Everything that we had done was going to be completely exposed and naked to Him. We had to hide. We couldn’t let Him see this dark decay that had come over us. We ran. We did our best to hide ourselves, but I think we both knew that there was no hope.

I remember crouching in the bushes, my heart beating wildly. And what did I think? I’m ashamed to say that I thought maybe the Lord would focus on my husband. Maybe He wouldn’t notice me and my sin. Maybe I would be able to hide after all.

Foolishness! The Lord already knew where we were and He already knew what we had done. Of course He did. Just as He had warned us, there was a penalty to pay for our disobedience. Exiled from our garden. Cast out into the unknown. Exposed to evil and pain and hardship we had never even known existed. But in that moment when our sentence was handed down and the impulse to hide was stronger than ever, the Lord did something I’ll never forget.

He took one of his beloved animals and killed it. We had never seen anything die. It seemed to have fallen asleep until we saw the blood and we saw Him tear the skin from it. I cried out and my husband gasped in horror. And then He created garments for both of us.

My nakedness was hidden, but the hiding was different. In that fearful act of killing His creation and using it for me, I saw the Lord’s incredible love for me. Life was turning upside down, but I would always know that the Lord loved me.

In the years to come there would be more times when I wanted to hide myself and my sin, but I would always be able to return to the truth that my Lord loved me.

The Lord from whom I cannot hide loves me!

 

“Hiding From God” is the first in a new series – “Through Her Eyes” – stories of women of the Bible told in their voices filtered through my imagination.

 

photography from CreationSwap and Unsplash

%d bloggers like this: