Scripture: Genesis 8:6-22
Key verses: (6-12) 6At the end of forty days Noah opened the window of the ark that he had made 7and sent out the raven; and it went to and fro until the waters were dried up from the earth. 8Then he sent out the dove from him, to see if the waters had subsided from the face of the ground; 9but the dove found no place to set its foot, and it returned to him to the ark, for the waters were still on the face of the whole earth. So he put out his hand and took it and brought it into the ark with him. 10He waited another seven days, and again he sent out the dove from the ark; 11and the dove came back to him in the evening, and there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf; so Noah knew that the waters had subsided from the earth. 12Then he waited another seven days, and sent out the dove; and it did not return to him any more.
Reflection: One of the gifts of the story of Noah is this picture of him near the end of the flood. After 40 long days of rain and complete devastation around him, we see Noah at the window of the ark. In an act of pure faith, he opens the window and sends out a raven to see if the waters have dried up. Noah waits, and then sends out a dove. When the dove finds no dry land on which to land, Noah takes the dove back into the ark. He waits for seven days, then sends the dove out again. This time the dove returns with an olive leaf. The tops of the trees, at least, are reappearing! Noah waits another seven days then sends the dove out again, and when it does not return, he knows the water has dried up enough to leave the ark.
I am amazed at the patience of Noah. I would have been sending that dove out daily to check the water level. At the first sign of that green leaf, I would have been ready to go. Another seven days seems an excruciatingly long time to wait. Perhaps Noah knew something about the relationship between faith and patience that I often forget. When you trust that God is in control, and is working through all things for good, then you can wait as long as it takes for God’s future to be realized. In the meantime, I imagine Noah found plenty to keep him busy working towards the day to come when the new world would be ready for planting again. May we wait and work with the faith and patience of Noah.
Prayer: Lord, your future is on its way. Give me faith and patience. Help me trust in your good time. Teach me what I need to know and show me what I need to do to be ready. In the name of Christ, I pray. Amen.
Author: Julie Hester
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].