WAIT! Don’t Jump Ship Yet!
Waiting. Isn’t it HOARDS of fun? Yes, that is a rhetorical – sarcastic question. Nothing floats my boat, rolls my socks, more than … waiting. I am kidding, of course, whether it be in a checkout stand, gas line, or in a season of life, I am not a good wait-er.
Recently studying in Genesis, (LOVE that book, I always seem to be in Genesis) I was again reminded of just how ‘human’ the characters are. Noah. Quickly setting the scene: God is grieved over mans ‘ickiness‘. He’s starting over. He instructs Noah to build the first Titanic; however, this one IS unsinkable. Noah obeys beyond the critical looks, and behind his back snickers. He builds the ark and gathers the animals. Loading up, God shuts the door and it begins to rain.
Forty days it rains. (Genesis 8) FINALLY, the rain stops. Noah sends out the raven, then the dove, they both return because there is no place to land yet. Verse 10 “He WAITED seven more days …” (emphasis mine) Noah waited. In the Hebrew, this waiting is a painful waiting, as to wring the hands, not a mere sitting on a crate playing cards passing the time. It refers to either pain in the physical sense or in the emotional. Noah and his family in the ark, God preserves them, now he (they) … wait. Perhaps Noah’s thought bend towards, had God forgotten him? Will he forever spend the rest of his life in a stinky ship full of animals? “How many rounds of ‘Row row row your boat’ do they HAVE to sing, those silly sons!” I must mention, Mrs. Noah, what a trooper, not one mention of complaining – in contrast to the dusty folks in the wilderness. Think about it, she’s on a voyage of no destination, no itinerary, with no time of arrival determined, with plenty of animals and animal stuff. No complaints.
BUT, the story, the waiting does NOT stop there. Noah sent out the dove AGAIN, that evening the dove returned with an olive branch, “Then Noah knew that the water had receded from the earth. He waited seven more days and sent the dove out again, but THIS TIME it did not return to him.” (8:11-12)
Noah waited and waited some more. We read that and think … ‘the guy is getting good at waiting.’ YET, his waiting has changed, the narrative uses a completely different word for wait. First he ‘hil’ (Hebrew) ‘painful waiting’, now after the olive branch, he sends the dove out with hope, ‘yahal’ (Hebrew) a confident expectation in his wait. His pain has turned to hope. The results of his hope … “but this time it did not return to him,” knowing the dove had landed happily in an olive tree somewhere. I LOVE the ‘this time’ of waiting, the ‘this time’ of God.
Hope – it will carry us a long way, as long as it doesn’t carry us in the wrong direction. “Hope is NOT a pacifying wish of the imagination which drowns out troubles….” * Folks, whether we are in a season of painfully waiting, or our waiting is full of hope, don’t jump ship yet! Keep sending those doves, perhaps God is in the ‘more.’ Take heart, God is just preparing us a dry place, His timing … perfect. Look for those olive branches, they will be there. Our ‘this time’ … is coming!
In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love & good deeds.” –Hebrews 10:24)
* Quote from the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (LOVE those geeky books!)