Flooded with Undeserved Grace

SAM_3398

I knew my  husband had to be joking……

He came home from his time in the fields with an expression of awe and purpose on his face. I, Noel Noah shouldn’t have been surprised. Noah had many long walks with God but dear Noah’s face never reached this look of …what was the word mission. I dropped my spatula nearly dropping my bread dough on the earthen floor.

“What is it?” My voice barley whispered.

“God wants me to build an ark because He is about to destroy the whole earth”.

If I had anything else to drop I would’ve. Noah didn’t beat around the bush when he had something to say, not when he popped the question and definitely not now.

“Wait, what? why?”

“Babe, look around you!”

Quickly, I looked out the window expecting to see an enormous disaster. However, all I saw was dust and wind mindlessly blowing. What was my hubby thinking?

My face must have conveyed to my poor husband that I still didn’t get it.

“We are the only ones who are honoring God. Can’t you see? People are fighting all the time and not acting like God’s people”.

I knew Noah was right. We had talked to our neighbors about God once or twice before. They had scoffed saying that God was for those who were weak. And it was true our family was the only one who sacrificed to God. I sighed.

“You’re right dear. So, what’s the plan? God is loving and He forgives. Surely, He will forgive the wickedness of those around us”.

I knew the world around us was wicked. Every day we seemed to hear of another shooting or another man slaughter. I shuttered as I thought of the latest stories on the Mesopotamia Night Live.

“Yes, God is loving and full of grace but time and time again the people keep turning from Him. He said that He must destroy the whole earth with a flood. God gave me all the directions on how to build the ark and what animals are needed”.

“Noah”, I said as I grouped for my cup of now lukewarm coffee. I needed to hold something, “this does not make sense I don’t even know what a flood is”.

“I don’t know myself, but darling, faith is what God expects”.

I had faith before. Like when I lost my daughter in childbirth. I sobbed for days and weeks afterward. I was so heartbroken. How could God take away my daughter that I had loved for more than nine months? But God held my heart and asked me to trust Him. And once again the God of forever and of my heart was asking me the same.

“Okay, I believe you dear and am behind you completely.”

I paused before speaking again.

“But why us?”

Noah got teary eyed. My muscular, buff, husband never cried. “Because God told me that we have found grace in His eyes”.

Wow, that nearly took my breath away. I abounded my useless cup of coffee and took my husband’s wrinkled, sturdy hands. When I spoke, my voice was barely a hush.

“When we made our vows, we knew we would stand together for life or death. Since this is God’s will than I will stand by you even if everyone stands against us”.

How little did I know that God and my family would be all that I would be clinging to in the long years ahead.

Noah kissed me before leaving. After fifty years of marriage I still blushed school girl red. I waved as he ran off to tell our sons and their wives.

The days ahead were not easy. Faith, Hope, and Love (my daughter-in laws) helped prepare food for the ark.  And God miraculously brought us the animals. The hardest thing for me was the ridicule. I knew my neighbors didn’t believe God but now they scorned me when I walked by. They didn’t wave when I passed or ask me for my latest recipes. I was sad and I felt so isolated. Wasn’t there an easier way to following God? But no, I knew better. When I said yes to Jesus I was denying myself and giving myself fully to Him. Once when God prompted me I bravely knocked on my neighbor’s door with a fresh batch of brownies with the intention of telling her about my husband’s newest building project. Word traveled fast so Mrs. Folly already knew. But when she saw me she pointed her nose up in the air and slammed the door. She didn’t even accept my brownies and she definitely didn’t want to hear me talk about a boat that could save her life….and her soul. Mrs. Folly was one woman I would have to leave in God’s hands.

The day finally came when it was time for us to go into the ark. I was sad to leave life as I knew it, the house Noah had built for me, my garden, the tree where we were married, but I knew that God’s will was best and so I would trust Him. And it was hard to be the rejected woman all the time. The one that everyone saw as the wife of the crazy man. So, in a way I was glad to walk into the new life that God had for us. Both Noah and I were sad that none of our neighbors wanted to come with us. Word about my husband’s ark endeavor had spread all around the world. Everyone knew how crazy we were. People traveled from far and wide to mock us, but no one listened to the message of hope and life. They scoffed at us calling us fools. Thousands gathered around us as we entered the ark. I think they wondered if we’re going to do what we had preached and lived out all those years. My brave husband pleaded one more time.

“God loves you. This ark is your way of salvation, of escape. Trust me. God’s ways are best. Come on this ark and be saved. He made this ark to save you. Please”.

I looked and my husband and my heart ached exceedingly for him. Noah had walked in faith but I knew how badly he wanted people to follow Christ. Noah never wearied of speaking the truth. Oh, how I wanted a faith more like my husband. I looked at their ridiculed faces. No one moved. Not one soul. I wanted to cry and slap their faces all at the same time. But the time of grace had passed. Noah ushered me along with our sons and their wives into the ark. I heard God close the door. I closed my eyes clasped my hubby’s hands and prayed with a vigilance I’d never uttered before. I knew it wasn’t my fault but I could only see Mrs. Folly in my mind. It was her own choice not to come on the ark. But why didn’t I manually force her? Why didn’t I do more? But as I wept and then sobbed into my husband’s arms God spoke to me in the deepest shades of my soul.

“Noel, my daughter. I am a God of love but also of grace. Following me takes faith, and denial of what was before. These people who I know by name and who were created in my image chose to turn away from me. I continually opened my arms time and time again. But daughter, they refused. I cannot look on sin. I am God Almighty, I AM the I AM”.

I clung to Noah and continued to cry but it was softer now. I didn’t understand all of God’s ways but with a childlike faith I decided to stop manipulating and trust Him. My life was in the hands of my Savior.

The first week on the ark was spent in mourning and prayer. Our hearts were heavy over the lives lost. We knew God was merciful but each of us held regrets wishing we could have done more to show people the truth.

However, time did drag. It was especially hard without having windows. Patience was never an easy lesson for me and now God was teaching me patience to a higher degree. Noah had said we were to be on the ark forty days and forty nights. So, I took out my cute planner and marked our forty days from when we entered the ark. During our time on the ark I worked on my quilting, but soon my hands and mind grew restless. Instead of being on the ark forty days and forty nights we ended up being there one hundred fifty days longer than I had planned and then some….. Sometimes I thought I would scream if I didn’t taste some sunshine. When I got lonely I would cuddle with my kitten or hold one of the puppies.

Finally, God gave my husband the go ahead. But my husband was much more in tune with God than I was. I was ready to grab a life vest and swim for shore. But Noah sent out a dove. And we waited.

And waited

And waited.

Okay, it was only a week but after a long time a week can seem like forever.

The dove came back with nothing. Sigh, And I was so hopeful. My bags were packed and everything. I longed to cook again over an open fire.

And so, we waited another week.

After having been on the ark for almost two hundred and forty-four days (yes, I counted) it was hard to find new topics of conversation. I know, I am complaining. I was so grateful to have my children and husband with me.

After a week a dove came back with an olive branch in her mouth. How symbolic. And little did I know that one day my Savior would die on a mountain of olives.

I was thrilled beyond measure to walk outside. To smell the fresh air, to feel the breeze, oh I could’ve cried. Noah had to help steady me because my sea legs were still on. But the thing was I was stunned by how silent it was. There was no laughing children or scolding grandmas. I was struck by the silence. We were alone. We alone we saved to carry out God’s mission to the rest of the world.

The first thing we did (after shouting hallelujah of course) was make an altar to the Lord.  God’s first command much like given to Adam and Eve was to “be fruitful and multiply”. Wow, from our seed God planned to bring the promised one. I couldn’t even fathom it. God put the most magnificent rainbow in the sky proclaiming that He would never flood the earth again. It was His unending promise for all the ages.

I wish I could tell you that life was rosy and delightful after the flood. God had rescued us in the most magnificent way. And my husband was so full of faith, I was ready to follow in his footsteps as my husband followed the King of Kings.  Our first job was planting a vineyard. Noah wasn’t wise and ended up becoming drunk and exposed. I heard about the incident from my sons.

When I saw my husband that night, his face was full of shame. It took him longer to come that night. His head was low.

Noah looked me straight in the eye.

“Noel, you know we don’t hold secrets from each other. I have sinned”.

I simply nodded.

“I have spoken to The Almighty, begging for forgiveness. God has given me such a task and now I have messed up. But my dear one, I am now asking for yours. I have disgraced this family and future generations. Forgive me”.

“Yes, Noah. Yes. God showed grace to me time and time again, how could I withhold forgiveness from you”?

I kissed him and we held each other tightly. Out of the corner of my eye I looked out the window and saw a rainbow. Wow, God’s mercies and unfailing love really were surrounding us. And I knew that HE was faithful.

 

Taken from Genesis 6-9.

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