It had been a crazy hectic day! I had chased around a gaggle of two-year-olds at preschool all morning, only to come home to a noisy, hectic house. Dishes piled high in the sink, laundry to wash, and a dirty bathroom with Mount Towel in the middle of the floor. Our eldest had returned from living on his own for a bit. His mode of calm is an electric guitar booming out of an amp and screaming singing at the top of his lungs. Who says God doesn’t have a sense of humor? God deposited this noisy male child into a family of rather quiet individuals. I’ll admit, I can be rather boisterous when I get excited, but for the most part, I like a calm, quiet house. Over the years our family has had to make some adjustments for each other and give each other some space and grace. So with more space than grace in mind, I decided that I would retreat to our backyard with a glass of wine in hand and seek some silence while the male child pounded away on the guitar. After all, it was 5 o’clock somewhere.
I absolutely love sitting in my big backyard. I simply listen to the birds, watch the squirrels run and play, the bees and bugs dance among the flowers, admire the big oak tree and its splendor. Whenever the weather is warm enough and I have the time, I enjoy just sitting with a cup of coffee in the morning or a glass of wine in the evening. Sometimes I read my Bible and sometimes I just listen and watch. God communicates so much through nature and all of its beauty!
This day was different, though. I was tired, exhausted, frazzled and near the end of my rope. I only wanted silence! I lay down in my hammock under the big oak tree, the bright spring sun beaming down to warm the air and the shade from the big tree covering me. Aaaah! I soaked in the sun and the silence as I sipped my glass of wine.
And this thought popped into my head!! You know who really deserved a glass of wine? Noah!
I’ve heard and read the story of Noah so many times. My kids had a toy Noah’s Ark with all the animals and I would read them the story from the Children’s Bible. I’ve taught kids about it at Sunday School and VBS for years. There’s some sort of great flood account found in almost every civilization and culture around the world. What more is there to know about Noah?
But I started to really think about Noah, about his life story. He was a good man. So good, so righteous that God chose him and his family to continue the population after God was fed up with mankind. Awesome, right? I mean, I think it’s awesome, but not so sure Noah would agree.
It had to be hard. First, Noah had to build an ark. That alone was a huge undertaking and not for the faint of heart. Then he had to get all the animals on that huge cruise ship. In the meantime, I’m sure people were making fun of him. I can just hear people saying, “There’s that old, crazy man, Noah. Building that silly contraption called an ark. And all those animals. Really, what a nuisance! He’s totally off his rocker!!”
Now the Bible doesn’t say much about Mrs. Noah, but if she was anything like me, I’m sure she said a lot. “Noah, all these animals are driving me crazy! Do we really have to take them all? Are you sure God said it was going to flood? It’s been dry for years.”
And then there were the three boys: Shem, Ham and Japheth. Can you imagine trying to corral three boys into helping and not clowning around? “Ham, stop putting the tarantula under your brother’s pillow! Ham, why can’t you be more like your brothers? Ham, stop fooling around and the get the animals fed.”
All of this until the day that first fateful raindrop fell! And I’m sure that’s when the gravity of the situation hit Noah. All the people on earth were drowned! Can you imagine the emotional toll that had on Noah and his family? Everyone gone. And not just people, but all the animals, as well. Everyone, everything gone! It had to take days, too. Can you imagine the dead animals and people floating up beside the boat?
They were the last people on earth! It’s one of mankind’s deepest struggles, being alone. Just look at the countless movies made about this very situation. Now, Noah wasn’t all alone, but he and his family were the last living people and in charge of the last living animals. That’s deep!
Can you imagine being on the ark while the rain pounded and the waves tossed for 40 days and 40 nights straight? It must have been a little scary. Several years ago, there was a bad thunderstorm at night. It woke me out of a deep sleep and literally, I thought “This is it. Jesus has come back for us!” It was that loud!
The smells, the noises, the wife, and the kids. “When is it going to stop? I can’t take the noise. The smell is making me nauseous! I can’t take one more day of this rain.” and the proverbial “Are we there yet?
Noah had his hands full, I’m sure. Then it stopped raining, the land dried up and God gave Noah a rainbow, a promise. It’s a promise we still see today. Some 300 and something days later Noah, his family, and all the animals could leave the ark and step onto dry land. Whoa, that’s a long cruise!
Now think about it! Noah spent a long time building an ark, being made fun of, and taking care of animals. He was trapped on a boat with A LOT of animals and his family for 300 something days, 40 of which it was raining! Okay, not just raining but more than likely storming and to top it all off he witnessed the whole world being decimated! If anybody deserved peace and quiet and a glass of wine it was Noah!
You may be wondering why the glass of wine? After all the flooding, Noah, his family, and all the animals head off onto dry land. Here’s where Noah’s story gets interesting. He plants a vineyard and when he drank some of its wine he became drunk. There’s some tomfoolery that goes on and Ham ends up being cursed. (Genesis 9:18-27)
This may not have gone down exactly how I imagined as I lay there on that hammock. I may have ad-libbed some. You can read the story of Noah in Genesis 6-9 and discover for yourself.
But here’s what I gleaned from the “silence” that day in the hammock. God’s Word is not just a book about flat, two-dimensional people and places. These stories and writings have depth and emotion just like our own life stories. All people mess up, even really good and righteous people that God has chosen to do great things. When I’m still and quiet God shows me that I’m not alone. There’s not a trial I’m going to go through that someone hasn’t already experienced or worse. And finally, God sends us rainbows – maybe not literally, but figuratively – to assure us that there’s hope for tomorrow.
Let him sit alone in silence, for the Lord has laid it on him. Let him bury his face in the dust –there may yet be hope. ~ Lamentations 3:28-29
My hope is that one day in Heaven I can sit in silence with Noah, a glass of wine in hand, and listen to him tell his story. About the flood. And how he found hope in a rainbow!