This morning, I think: “The ark wasn’t built in a day either.”
I think it as my baby girl (too big to be called “baby,” she tells me) bursts into my room far too early to announce, “Mom, it’s morning time!” And I’m tired.
The ark, remember the ark.
I’m pouring cereal and reviewing ancient China with a girl who is taking her big test today.
I pulled my other girl’s hair back into a ponytail, but it was the wrong kind. She wanted it differently. Using her hands, she tries to explain it to me and I’m slow, so I lean down trying to understand and experiment with the brush until I get it just right.
That ark takes time to build.
They’ve dressed and stepped into shoes. I’ve reminded and reminded them, brush your teeth, grab your back pack, zip your coat. Hurry! It’s time!
We huddle at the bus stop with our backs to the February wind and I snuggle close to block them from the strength of the blasts.
Then I whisper a prayer for their day, for their tests and their friends and their obedience and their learning and how proud I am of all their hard work.
Just building an ark here. Just taking the time.
Because sometimes you wake up tired. Sometimes you’d rather pull those covers right on up to block out the sun and the cold and sleep away some of the day and lounge away the other half in pajamas and slippers.
Sometimes you just need the reminder that what you are doing has significance and value.
Sometimes you need to know….This Matters.
Even if today isn’t the day you pound the final peg into the ark and the animals step on two-by-two and the rain falls…
Even if you don’t see the final results or immediate success, know that every peg you place and every board you lay has purpose.
It takes about nine months for God to intricately fashion a human life in a womb.
It takes 365 days for the earth to circle that sun, spinning around in its orbit.
It even takes 8 minutes from the sun to stretch its light down to our planet.
And it took decades for Noah to build that ark.
Progress happens over time, seconds and minutes and day after another day of perseverance, dedication and refusing to give up.
How often Noah must have woken up to a new morning and wanted to stop.
Surely there were days it felt impossible to construct a massive floating vessel without power tools and contractors.
Surely the ridicule from the masses and those he considered his closest friends—yes even from his family—must have wearied his soul.
Surely there were moments he just needed God to reassure him that he wasn’t crazy, that he heard correctly, that what he was doing was necessary.
Some days it must have seemed so hard. Some days maybe he wanted to give up.
Yet, had he given up one decade….one year…one month…one week….one day too soon, had he abandoned the project and left the ark unfinished, it wouldn’t have saved anyone. God couldn’t use an unfinished ship to rescue, save, and redeem.
God saved him…and us…because “Noah did everything just as God commanded him” (Genesis 5:22).
Just one simple verse; it makes it sound so easy.
But I know the truth. I know every time I sit down and open the Scriptures up on my kitchen table on days when I’m tired and the interruptions just keep coming, that I can’t give this up. Even if the inspiration doesn’t come, even if God seems silent or my soul unstirred, still I build this ark.
When the chores seem endless…
when you’re deep-soul tired…
when you can’t seem to find your joy and don’t know where you lost it…
when no one says, “thank you” or appears to notice you serving them…
when others ridicule your efforts and tell you it doesn’t matter…
when you’re teaching but they don’t seem to understand….
when you’re pouring everything you have into this but you don’t see results….
when you give with passion and what you receive back is criticism….
You get up in the morning and you lay one more peg and one more board into the ark that God told you to build.
You do everything just as God commanded you, not because it’s easy or fun or seems so rewarding in the moment.
We do it because we’re building into eternity:
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all”
(2 Corinthians 4:16-17).
Originally published 2/1/2013