Imagine this scenario… You are told by God directly that the entire world was going to be destroyed. The catch is that you and your family were the only ones that would be saved. How would you react? My immediate reaction would have been disbelief. I would have questioned if I actually heard God or if I was daydreaming. Perhaps I ate something bad and it made me have a hallucination. Maybe I fell asleep on the couch and had a bad dream.
When I think of the story of Noah I always feel like there should be more details given to explain what the world was like back then and what the culture was doing that was considered so bad that God would be willing to destroy everyone and start again. But what is important that we see about Noah is his faith. He was willing to trust God and believe that because God said it that it would happen. He was willing to face ridicule and hard work to be obedient.
If we were all honest with ourselves we are far different from Noah. We read the Bible and we don’t believe what it says. We don’t trust God to be true to his word and we lack the faith to allow things to be done God’s way. Instead we try to play God and make our will happen and we try to decide what is best. At the heart of every disobedient act towards God (what we call sin) is the belief that we know better than God does.
The good and bad thing about storms is that they give warning signs. The bad part of these signs is the waiting and the knowledge that something bad is on its way. It is like waiting for a shot from the doctor that we know is going to hurt. We anticipate it with fear and with agitation wanting it to be over with. In the same way we can look at the storm coming our way with fear and with worry.
The opposite of that worry is preparation. Since storms give us those warning signs we can do something to prepare. We can purchase supplies, board up windows, and prepare to be hours or days without power in our homes. In the storms of life we can anticipate these troubles by examining our finances, sharing our concerns with others who can pray with us and walk with us through the problems, looking at and pursuing our options, and by spending quality time with God.
This is the difference between faith and worry. Faith produces action. It is not sitting back in our recliners and expecting God to do all the work. Faith is putting action to what we know is coming our way. Trust is only one part of having faith. The other part is being prepared to make the move when God calls us to do so. To see some examples of this great faith let’s read Hebrews chapter 11 together.
After reading that chapter I want you to take notice of something very important. Each person of great faith went through a great storm in their lives. But each person also took action. Their faith was accompanied by action. When Noah was told by God that the flood was coming he had obedience and built the ark. He did not wait on God to do all the work but did his part. He faced persecution and hard work but because of what he did he was obedient and was able to save his family from the flood.
What also needs to be pointed out is the polar opposite of faith: overexertion. Worry causes us to do nothing but overexertion makes us try and do everything on our own. We spend so much time trying to do it all on our own that we do not exercise faith in trusting God to do what we cannot do. The balance is simply to do what we can and let God do what we cannot. We do not try to do it all because that is impossible. Instead we allow God to have his place and we show our faith by our action in proper balance.
Today my challenge for each of us is to meet the storms of our life with true faith; faith that has action that accompanies it. Each storm is different and will require different action steps; but don’t sit back and expect God to do it all. Obedience always requires action. Noah built the boat and gathered the animals in obedience and faith that God would do as he promised. We too must look at what we can do to overcome our storms of life and let God handle the parts we have no control over.