If the activists at PETA have a favorite chapter in the Bible, it must be Genesis 7: God wipes out all the people who are wrecking the planet, but saves the animals! It’s an environmentalist’s dream come true until you realize all the poop that someone had to shovel over the side! But even that kind of drudgery seems like peanuts in the story of the Great Flood.
The Lord gave Noah 120 years to do everything necessary to be ready for The End. Noah and his wife had to give birth to their sons and raise them to become godly men. The young men must have needed time and patience to find suitable wives in an utterly corrupted society. And after all this had happened, Noah and his family were then responsible for building a great ship 450′ long to house all the animals God would preserve along with them. It might have taken the family 40 years to build the ark according to God’s specifications, but it took Noah well over a century to fulfill his assignment from God!
Can you imagine the faith and tenacity that must have been required to manage a project of that scale? What kind of parenting skills would have been required to raise godly sons in a world where depravity and violence were universally fashionable? Try and imagine the profound responsibility that Noah must have felt in building a family and training three sons who would literally need to start the world over again! And then there was the task of building this gigantic and very peculiar ship the Lord had in mind; all this in a primitive world without the benefit of industrial cranes, hardware stores, or computer designs.
Noah completed his mission because he was able to stay on task for all those decades. Responsibilities periodically shifted from delivering babies to raising healthy children to cultivating faith in pagan wives to chopping down trees and shaping lumber; but the original calling of God was always in sight. And when the time came for God to shut the door to the Ark, this devoted servant named Noah was able to take a deep breath, and sigh, “We did it!”
In these dark days of the Twenty-first Century, we probably have enough people and tools who could build that kind of boat. But what we urgently need are durable saints with that kind of tenacious faith: who can accept a visionary task from God and carry it through to completion– even if the task takes decades. We all know parents who want to raise children with a little faith, but how many of them accept their responsibility to unleash godly young adults who can boldly help the next generation start over? How many American believers understand that we will all need to serve and sacrifice tirelessly for decades if we are to keep the flame alive until we see these United States of Babylon experience renewal? We desperately need a vision that sees farther down the road than our next chance to vote.
Over the years, we have observed politicians who are effective at campaigning but inept at leading. The same has been true of the church in recent years. We can summon enough energy for a brief political campaign or church emphasis, but we gasp in horror at the long-term demands of growing families and churches who can soar above the squalor of the culture decade after decade. We may be willing to show up and vote, but let someone else to the preparation and construction.
When friends ask me if I think anyone will ever find Noah’s Ark in the frozen mountains of Turkey, I tell them to forget about it. Noah’s Ark is the past. Noah’s diligent, tenacious vision is the future. Oh God, grant us a rising tide of Noah’s who can translate your ideas into action, and devote their lives to accomplishing the mission.
Lift up the Cross!