The Biblical account of Noah is a little deceptive.
In Genesis 6, God warns Noah of the impending flood and tells him to build an ark. We get a fairly detailed list of specifications for this thing with roughly half of the chapter devoted to instructions related to the ark. But for the actual process of building the ark, we get one sentence:
Noah did this; he did all that God commanded him.
It comes and goes so quickly you barely even notice it.
I’d never really thought about how long it took Noah to build this thing. It was 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high. That’s not something you just throw together in your backyard over the weekend. The Bible says nothing about God working supernaturally through the process to help Noah finish in a few minutes, so unless I’m missing something, Noah would have had a lot of time to work on this thing.
He also would have had a lot of time to doubt.
I’m sure you’ve heard a billion times what a leap of faith Noah had to take to build this ark, as no one on Earth had ever seen so much as a drop of rain yet. However, considering Noah probably took months, maybe even years, to build the ark, this wasn’t just a single leap of faith. Every day he woke up to work on this project had to be yet another leap of faith. Building the ark would have taken a significant chunk of his life. It would have cost him quite a bit of money, or livestock, or whatever resources he used to fund the project.
I’d always seen this story as one where Noah says, “Okay, God. I trust you,” and then that’s that. He’s shown his faith, and he goes on his way. But now I don’t think that’s how it went. I think Noah woke up every day and showed his trust in God by giving up his time and his money to prepare himself for something that had to have sounded crazy even to him.
Noah’s leap of faith wasn’t an isolated incident. It was a process.
And if I’m honest, I kind of don’t like that. Processes are hard. They don’t happen instantly. But the thing about isolated incidents is that you don’t learn from them.
When I was in college, I blew off several classes because I was a fairly normal twenty-something. The only times I put in much effort was the night before a test, when I studied furiously. I did well enough on the tests when they came, but now, years later, I couldn’t tell you a thing I learned in any of those classes.
On the other hand, the classes I really dug into, participated in, and worked at every day, have stuck with me. I still remember the dumb vocabulary words, the homework assignments, the projects.
When God calls us to show some faith, it’s not a single goal to be achieved. It’s a process in which to learn. God has a thing for processes, and I really think this is why. He wants us to remember the things we learn years from now.
What process are you in the middle of?