Genesis 8:1-14; Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 98, 105
People in God’s family wait patiently together for Him.
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9).
Have you ever had to stay inside because of rain—days and days of rain? And when it stopped, was the ground muddy? Perhaps you have heard the phrase “cabin fever.” It’s what happens to people who are stuck indoors for a long time. They become anxious and uneasy. They become irritable. They want to see and do something— anything. Noah and his family must have had the worst case ever.
The waiting started the day Noah, his family, and all the animals went into the ark. God sent an angel to close the door. They waited in the ark for seven days before anything happened. When it finally did, it happened big! The Bible says, “The springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened” (Genesis 7:11). Water poured down from heaven and shot up from the earth!
Things were busy in the ark. Mostly there were animals to calm down, feed, and clean up after. Some of that wasn’t easy in a big boat tossing up and down on angry floodwaters. It wasn’t too clean either, and it probably didn’t smell very good.
God had promised Noah that He would protect the ark during the Flood, and He did. His angels kept the ark from capsizing (tipping over and going under).
Finally, after 40 days the rain stopped. Noah and his family must have wondered when they could safely leave the ark. But the wind still blew and the waves still tossed the boat around for five months. Then the Lord made the ark float into a protected spot in the Ararat Mountains. He made a wind blow to dry up the rest of the floodwaters. Two and a half months later Noah and his family could see the tops of the mountains near the ark.
By now they had been in the ark about eight months. They must have been tired of feeding animals and shoveling manure day after day. But still they did their work—and they waited. “When do you think we will be able to get out on dry land again?” they must have asked each other.
“God will show us,” Noah probably said over and over again.
Finally, to find out how dry the earth was, Noah let a raven fly out the window. The raven flew back and forth.
Later Noah sent out a dove. It too, came back to the ark when it couldn’t find a place to land. A week later Noah sent the dove out again. This time it returned with a fresh olive leaf in its mouth. After one more week Noah sent the dove out again. This time it didn’t come back. Surely they must be getting out of the ark soon!
But even though the dove had found a resting place, the earth was still too wet for people. God knew that. So He didn’t send the angel to open the ark’s door yet. Noah and his family waited another two months! It was a busy time, with all the chores they still had to do.
There wasn’t any room to spare in the ark. There was a lot of work Noah and his family were so glad they had listened to God and entered the ark. They were glad they were together and had each other to depend on.
Noah and his family waited a long time to see God’s promise fulfilled. We, too, are waiting for God’s promise to us to be fulfilled. Philippians 3:20 says, “Our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.” It seems we’ve been waiting a long time, doesn’t it?
God has given us family and Christian friends to help us with the waiting. He has also given us a work to do while we wait. He wants us to share His good news. Let’s encourage one another and work together while we wait for that wonderful promise to be fulfilled.