Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God. Genesis 6:9 (NIV)
I have two stories for you involving floods and boats.
When my son was four-years-old, we were on a lakeshore where piles of driftwood had washed ashore following a flood caused by a severe rainstorm. Now the adults were content to start a bonfire, sit in their camp chairs, and relax after a long day of running around. But my son saw all that wood, saw all that water and thought… I could build a boat. Thus began a very exhausting and unproductive evening for him. No matter how hard he tried, he could not get his boat to stick together. He hefted driftwood, and worked and worked… but the pieces kept falling apart. And all the while, the adults watched, thinking, “Oh, that’s so cute.” But no one helped.
The next day, we returned to the lakeshore, and my four-year-old started all over again. Undeterred by the previous day’s failure, he collected and assembled driftwood. This time the little boy’s determination got the attention of one uncle. When the adults saw the boy and his uncle working so hard, they sighed, put down their marshmallow sticks, and began to help. We found vines and weeds to tie the driftwood together. In the end the boat only made one trip, but my four-year-old rode alongside his uncle laughing triumphantly. He had succeeded!
The second story is about another boat. An ark, actually. The story of Noah, the only righteous man in a wicked world. And the one who God decides to save. He sends Noah directions to build the ark, tells Noah to collect the animals… I think you probably know the rest.
Something you may not have thought about when you read this story: Noah did not sit in his living room, watching television while God built the ark for him. (Glad I could clarify that for you) Noah had to build the boat. If he’d given up after smashing his thumb with a hammer for the fifth time, well… the Bible would have been a lot shorter.
My son could not build his boat. He needed help. But if he had asked for help that first night, we wouldn’t have helped. We were tired, we wanted s’mores (just being honest), and boat building on the lakeshore seemed impossible. We didn’t have the tools or materials we thought we needed. And if my son had lost interest that second day and walked away to inspect sea shells, the adults would have forgotten all about that boat building dream. So, why did we help my son?
Because he was persistent.
Now the Bible is not specific about what it means when it calls Noah a ‘righteous man.’ But I’m guessing he didn’t easily give up. He had to build a giant ark, and then gather up two of every kind of animal. Have you ever tried herding cats? Anteaters? Hyenas? Squirrels? Can you even imagine? That man’s middle name must have been Persistent.
And here is my (long awaited) point: persistence pays off. God rewards it. People reward it.
Jesus tells a parable about the persistent widow (Luke 18). She gets what she wants, even from an unjust judge. My son got what he wanted, even from a bunch of tired and hungry (or at least s’more craving) adults.
I know one thing I need to be persistent about. Prayer. The Bible tells us to be persistent in prayer (Colossians 4). And since I am talking about things I need to be more persistent about, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. But it’s enough to get me started.
So what do you need to be more persistent about?
May God bless you to be persistent in the pursuit of Him. And may He open your eyes to the good that He is accomplishing in your life. Amen