Has God ever asked you to do anything hard? I couldn’t help thinking of that question as I finished reading again the biblical account of Noah and the great flood. Here he was, a man who was favored by God, being as focused on his Creator as possible in a world gone bad. He was surrounded by sinfulness, yet still true to God. How did God reward his faithfulness? By asking him to do something hard – really hard.
First he had to build a huge boat in the middle of a desert land. We can only imagine the ridicule as he brought in logs, sawed boards, pounded nails and created animal enclosures. And, while he built, he preached, calling on people to repent of their sins. Obviously, by the time the flood came, he had no converts other than his own family. Discouraging!
Then, he had to endure the flood – more than a year on a boat with his family and animals of every kind. The work involved must have been never-ending, not to mention the noise and the smell. One whole year, plus. But, happy 601st birthday, Noah! Finally, the ground was dry.
The first thing Noah did when he left the ark was offer a sacrifice to thank God for saving him and his family. He could have complained about the how, but he didn’t. He picked up where he left off before the call to build an ark – worshiping and following God.
Has God asked you to do anything hard lately? If so, don’t run from it. Say, “Yes, Lord” and get to work. God knows how to take of those who are his!
“Faith in God has not saved people from hardships and trials, but it has enabled them to bear tribulations courageously and to emerge victoriously.” – Lee Robertson
This feels like a simplification? Noah also got drunk and exiled 1/3 of surviving humanity. Also his hard thing was do this or die.
I do think God asks us to do hard things, among our choices. And His expectation is that we can do it. Pick up our cross?
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Obviously, the focus of this devotional was on the “hard thing” God gave Noah to do. At that point, he found grace or favor in the eyes of God. Yes, it was a life or death choice, but so was Job’s hard thing; if his wife was right, he could have simply cursed God and died. He regretted ever being born, so choosing death might have been easier than enduring the “hard thing” God called him to do. Jonah, in fact, did try to choose death over having to go to Nineveh with a call to repent. So, though it may have been a hard choice, Noah did have a choice. As to your other point, it is interesting to me that the Bible is so honest about both the strengths and weaknesses of the people God chooses to use. But we don’t bring up Bathsheba and Uriah every time we tell the story of David and Goliath. Same with Noah. We can see his obedience and his devotion as an example and use that example to encourage each other without listing the things he later did that may not have been so exemplary. And, of course, my blogs are often coming from my personal journey. Presently I and my family have been challenged by God with a “hard thing” (our daughter’s Stage 4 cancer with treatment options, but no cure options from a human perspective), so seeing Noah’s faithfulness was an encouragement to me to trust God even in the middle of a challenge. And when God encourages me, I like to share that encouragement with others who need it, too. Thanks for your comments, as always, John. It is always good to gain perspective with your interchanges!