Saturday, August 23, 2014

Noah: God Will Remember!

            Look at the first four words of Genesis 8: “But God remembered Noah . . .”  The previous verse says, “The waters flooded the earth for a hundred and fifty days.”  Five months of sitting in the ark while the waters killed off everything around them.  Five months of being locked into a floating box, waiting for an indication of when the door would open.  Five months of waiting for God to move.  And then . . . God remembers them. 
            Do you ever feel forgotten by God?  I know I do.  I have been in my own floating box before, trapped and feeling like I was suffocating because God wasn’t opening a door.  I went through years of feeling this way.  Feeling like I was just waiting for God to open a door, point the way, or show me any indication that He was still there and that He cared about me.  Did He even remember that I was waiting for Him, pleading with Him?
            But if there is one thing I have learned from being trapped in my own floating box, it’s this: God will remember you! 

            When I used to read that “God remembers,” I wondered if that meant that He forgot us.  But how could He forget us if He is aware of everything all the time?  That didn’t make me feel too confident in Him.

            But then I read somewhere that when God “remembers,” it means that He is ready to act in that person’s life, to make the next move.  It doesn’t mean that He forgot, that He just went, “Oops, I forgot about Noah floating around in that ark.  I guess I better do something about that.”  It means that He was ready to reveal the next step or open the next door.
            Knowing this fills me with relief.  It’s not that God isn’t paying attention or doesn’t care when you find yourself in a long time of waiting on Him.  It’s that He’s waiting for the right time to move.  Noah was in a box and couldn’t see what was going on around him.  And so he had to trust that God would move when it was time. 
            It’s a kind of “blind faith” when we are boxed-in by our circumstances with seemingly no way out, and we have to trust that God will show us the next step when it is time.  (I wonder if Noah ever feared that he would be forgotten until they all just died out in that box?)  Sometimes, God lets us know dramatically what the next step will be and the door just opens smoothly and quickly.  And sometimes it’s slow.  Verrrry ssslllloooowwww! 
            Once the waters started to recede, it took another hundred and fifty days for the water to go down.  And then there was more time as Noah sent out the birds to check if it was okay to get out yet.  Noah’s “open door” didn’t happen quickly.  There was a lot of time from the day that God “remembered” Noah and the day that Noah’s door was opened.  And during this time, all Noah could do was patiently wait for God, trust that God was working behind the scenes, and continue to do the job that God gave him. 
            And when the time was right, notice that Noah didn’t force the door open.  On the first day of the first month, Noah took off the ark covering and saw that the ground was dry.  But it wasn’t until the twenty-seventh day of the second month that it was totally dry.  And only then, did God say “Come out.” 
            I think that this is how it is for us during our times of waiting.  We sit in a prison of waiting and feeling forgotten.  But we should never force the door open.  We need to trust that God is working behind the scenes and that He will “remember” us when it’s time. 
            If we try to force doors open that weren’t meant to be opened - by freaking out because we feel forgotten, by going forward in our own wisdom, or by jumping the gun just a tiny bit – we cause a lot of confusion for ourselves and may be unable to discern God’s voice and timing.  Because we are too busy listening to ourselves and others.  But if we wait till God says, “Come,” then we will know that the timing is right.  When we are willing to patiently wait in faith (seeking support and guidance from God’s Word and remaining connected to Him in prayer), we will be able to sense His leading and timing more accurately.
            This isn’t easy to do, not when we desperately want something to happen.  But it is so crucial for staying on the path that God wants us on.  If you find yourself on an ark, don’t try to force the door open.  Just concern yourself with the job that God gave you while on that ark – tend to the animals, care for and love your family, do the daily monotonous tasks, pray and draw near to God.  Those are your jobs during the wait.  And when it is time, He’ll remember you and open the right door.  That’s His job.
           If you try to do His job and not yours, you’ll only exhaust yourself and find the ark falling down around you.  Yes, faith and waiting are hard, but dealing with the consequences of your haste and disobedience will be harder.  Stay on the ark and do your job, and let God do His.