We meet deadlines only to wait for the outcome. We are busy and hustling about only to have to wait for the next thing. We wait for results, outcomes and progress. Hurry up and wait is the name of the game so many times.
Ask any young child and they can tell you, waiting can be torture. They get antsy, impatient and grumpy. But don’t we all?
Noah was a man who walked with the Lord, not ran. No hurry. He was a man well acquainted with waiting. I saw this freshly recently in my time in Genesis. You likely know the story. God called Noah to build an ark to house himself, his family and the animals of the world while God judged the wickedness of earth and destroyed it with water.
I assumed I knew how much waiting this guy did as he spent 150 days with unimaginable rain and water bursting forth outside. The he spent another 150 days as God blew the waters back into place. All the while working to feed, tend and clean an ark full of wild, smelly animals.
How much longer, Lord? Surely Noah whispered the question more than once. I certainly would have.
But then the real waiting came. The storms had ended. The land was drying. The end was so near.
Isn’t that the hardest time to wait? Almost there. But ugh, still not there.
A pregnant mama about to burst with baby. So close, so uncomfortable, so prepared. Yet you wait.
A new job secured. A date set. And still working out the last promised days of an old job. You wait.
An approaching wedding. Preparations complete. Yet you wait.
So much of life is a waiting game. But the hardest moments are probably the last. Waiting in a long line, finally next in line and the cashier walks away to “price check” for the guy in front of you. Ugh so close.
So Noah waits. After 300 days, now the time must be short. But 40 days pass. He opens a window, did he need air? I would! He sends forth a raven, then a dove. Then another week passes. Then another week passes, another dove flies off his hand. This one returns with hope! Oh the end IS near. But does Noah burst open the door and race down the ramp towards dry land? Nope. “Then he waited another seven days and sent forth the dove, and she did not return to him any more.” (Genesis 8:12 ESV)
How long was that wait to see if she would return again?
How did he know to wait? How did he do it with what seems such patience?
I honestly think the secret to Noah’s patience is the same secret to his unquestioning obedience. He walked with God. (Genesis 6:9 ESV) Noah did not seem to rush through life on to the next thing. He knew something that I often forget. God works in the process, in the waiting, in what seems to be the useless holding pattern. That is where God builds our faith, our trust in Him and our Christlikeness.
We are so anxious for the end product. God is anxious for our hearts, and that comes through the process not in the end result. Noah knew this and I am praying today that I might remember it as I seek to slow down to walk with God.