Another month of a stay-at-home order? In a community as large as Timothy, there are undoubtedly many different opinions about this decision. However, it’s probably safe to say that no one is thrilled about the announcement. I’m pretty sure I know what Charlie Brown would say–“Good Grief!”
It’s a Saturday morning as I type this, and it’s raining outside. I’m here in my office a lot…basically most of the day every day as we continue to fight for our children and the mission of Timothy Christian Schools. As the rain comes down steadily outside my office window, I thought of Noah for some reason. Noah had a “quarantine” order too—in an ark! This was extreme shelter-in-place. He was joined by his wife, their three sons, and the wives of their three sons. (Oh, and they had A LOT of pets too!) I took some time this morning to read the account of Noah again, focusing on his experience with the great flood and his time on the ark. Take some time to read from Genesis 6:9-9:17 in particular. People have held different interpretations with portions of the account of Noah, but we can definitely find clear-cut glimpses into this familiar Biblical event.
For some reason I tend to forget the duration of Noah’s “stay-in-the-ark order. If you are reading this as a family, ask each person to give a quick answer to this question: How long were Noah and his family in the ark? (Pause for each person to respond.)
How many of you said “40 days and 40 nights?”
Wrong answer! It rained for 40 days and 40 nights. Noah and his family were actually in the ark for about a year! (Is this where the phrase “cabin fever” originated?)
How did Noah and his family endure such a lengthy stay-in-the-ark order? Although his orders were from God, and not from a politician, I believe we can still draw some practical ideas to thrive while we are in the midst of this. Here are some observations we can make from the Bible, and I think they will be helpful for us during the month of May as well.
Noah and his family obeyed God and trusted Him every step of the way. Think about it. God asked Noah to build an ark to rescue his family. Yet some Bible scholars believe that it had never rained before, and that Noah lived a long way from any major body of water. Some also believe that Noah’s children were not even born yet when God spoke to him. Regardless of these different interpretations, it is obvious that Noah held a reckless trust in God. Check out Genesis 6:22 in particular: “Noah did everything just as God commanded him.” Application: In our lives today, there is so much uncertainty. Let’s pray for total faith and reckless trust in God—even if the circumstances around us right now don’t make any sense and cause us to have doubts or fear. Trust in God’s plan. He has never failed us. He will never leave us or forsake us. Deuteronomy 31:6
Noah and his family worked while they were on the ark. They had chores! There were many animals on the ark. I’ve often heard Christians talk about the importance of praying together, taking family vacations, and eating dinner together at the table. Of course these are good things! Yet I’ve always felt that some of the most memorable and bonding family times are when we work together. I’m not talking about just making the beds and taking out the trash. I’m talking about mobilizing the collective strength, energy, and resources of your family to roll up your sleeves and physically work to make things better for someone else. Application: All of the following ideas should be considered responsibly with local and state guidelines. Can your family offer to do yard work or pull weeds at your church or for a neighbor? Does your neighbor’s garage need to be painted? As our church buildings are empty and probably trying to save money, is there a way for your family to clean, vacuum, or wash windows and screens? Could you bring a mobile car wash to the driveway of a friend in need? Get creative…but break a sweat for others during this stay-at-home order.
Noah and his family praised God as they exited the ark. They must have been ecstatic! I can picture them high-fiving each other, shouting for joy, tossing frisbees to the two dogs, Noah throwing batting practice to his boys, a round of golf with the entire family, firing up the grill…OK, so I’ve taken some license and made some assumptions here, but you get the idea—they were excited! And yet what was the first thing Noah did as he walked off the ramp? He built an altar to the Lord. Just like us, Noah was not perfect. We know that. But the family praised God and celebrated His faithfulness during the crisis. Even after such a long hardship, Noah’s faith remained strong. Application: In the midst of our current circumstances, let’s continue to be families who praise God. When we pray as a family, let’s enter that time with thanksgiving and praise. Psalm 100:4
Have more time? As a family, peruse the website of The Ark Encounter. My wife, Julie, and I have always wanted to visit and haven’t gotten around to it yet. You will find the website to be very informational and interactive. This will be a fun educational experience for your family as you peak further into the history and customs of Noah. You’ll even get a glimpse into what the ark probably looked like. Check it out!
Press on, Timothy!