Waiting While in CrisisApril 3, 2020
Our world is in a unique time as we fight this coronavirus. Do you know what has been the most difficult thing for me during this crisis? Waiting.
We can endure almost anything if we knew when it would end. The problem with this pandemic is we don't know when it will end. It's the not knowing that can wear us down.
Tom Petty wrote a song called, "Waiting is the Hardest Part," and he is right. Waiting is the hardest part. We as Americans have been conditioned to have it our way and to have it right away. We like having control over our lives, and right now, we have lost control to something that is outside of our control. We would rather do anything than wait.
The Bible is filled with people who had to wait.
- Abraham waited years for God to provide him a son.
- Joseph waited years for God to release him from prison.
- David waited years for him to become King.
- Job waited years for God to deliver him from his suffering.
One of the most interesting examples in the Bible on waiting is Noah.
After God told Noah to build an Ark, we know that it took Noah about 120 years to build it (Genesis 6:3). Then after Noah built the Ark, God told him to bring his family and animals into it for the next 7 days, and then God would bring the rain (Genesis 7:1-4). Once Noah and his family and animals entered the Ark, look at how many days they had to be cramped in the Ark...
- For 40 days and nights it rained (Genesis 7:12).
- The waters flooded the earth for 150 days (Genesis 7:24).
- When the waters began to recede, the Ark landed on top of the mountains of Ararat. 74 days later the tops of the mountains became visible (Genesis 8:3-4).
- 40 days after this, Noah sends out a raven to see if there was dry ground (Genesis 8:6-7).
- When the raven didn't return, Noah sent out a dove. The first time, the dove returned with nothing (Genesis 8:8-9).
- Noah waited another 7 days to send out the dove again. This time the dove came back with a freshly plucked leaf (Genesis 8:10-11).
- Noah waited another 7 days, and sent the dove out a third time, and the dove did not return (Genesis 8:12).
- The fact the dove did not return must have given Noah some hope that there was an end in sight, but Genesis tells us Noah and his family had to wait another 85 days before God told them it was time (Genesis 8:13-17)!
When you add up the days that Noah and his family were in the Ark, it was around 370 days! 370 days in an Ark with no netflix, no cell phones, no buffet lines, no board games, or no music. Nothing but smelly animals and smelly people! Could you imagine?
Perhaps the hardest thing for Noah was that God appeared to be silent during the 370 days.
It's easy for us as we go through crisis to believe God has forgotten us. But, I'm here to tell you that God has not forgotten you! He is with you!
God did not forget Noah. Genesis 8:1 says:
But God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the livestock that were with him in the ark.
God remembered Noah. This does not mean He forgot about Noah. The word remembered means that God takes actions on His promises. He remembered the promise He made with Noah (Genesis 6:18), and He sent a wind over the earth for the waters to recede (Genesis 8:1).
We are all asking the question right now, "When will this coronavirus end?" The answer is, it will end in God's time. Nothing can rush, change, or hinder God's plans.
But, because God acts on His promises towards His people, I'm excited to tell us that the dry ground will appear once again!
This pandemic will go away in time, but as we wait patiently, how should we respond?
Let's respond as Noah responded. Let's remember God during this crisis.
Noah remembered God while he waited on Him.
Noah was a righteous and blameless man (Genesis 6:8-9) who did what God commanded him to do (Genesis 6:22). Noah remained faithful, and he led his family during the crisis. He not only built the Ark, he also entered the Ark. It took faith to enter the Ark.
Just as it took faith to enter the Ark, so it takes faith for us to believe in Jesus. Noah led his family through the door of the Ark to save them from destruction. In the same way, fathers, we must lead our familes through the door of Jesus, and we will be saved from eternal destruction.
Jesus tells us in John 10:9:
I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.
What better time for us as men to lead our families? This is a great time for us to step up and teach our children what it means to be strong during adversity.
Once the dry ground appeared, and God opened the door of the Ark, what was the first thing Noah and his family did? They worshipped God.
Genesis 8:20 tells us:
Then Noah built an altar to the LORD and took some of every clean animal and some of every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar.
Put yourself in Noah's shoes. What would be the first thing you would have done once you got off the Ark? I probably would have began looking around the mountain to find the best place for shelter and begin starting life. Not Noah. The first thing Noah did was he worshipped God for saving he and his family.
When this pandemic ends, I hope the first thing we all do is worship the Lord. I hope that the churches will be full and God will bring revival to this land.
Will you pray with me to this end?