He knew things were pretty bad. But the extent of the evil was shocking to him. It seemed that neighbors and relatives didn't want anything to do with the God of creation. They lived as if He didn't even exist. Noah's heart was broken. He knew that God's patience was running out. God had let Noah in on His plan, "The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth," (Genesis 6:13; KJV).
Noah would follow God's instructions and build a huge ark that would be sturdy enough to house he and his immediate family, in addition to many animals. Although he didn't understand what rain was, or how the large boat would float, he had faith in the God of his fathers, and he would do as he was told. Noah had to smile. The structure he was to build would take over one hundred years to complete. It was just like the God of the universe to continue giving people the opportunity to repent and turn back to Him!
As Noah and his family worked to build the enormous structure, they had plenty of opportunities to encourage curious on-lookers to turn back to God. Day after day turned into year after year. The people continued to mock Noah and refused to turn from their wicked ways. There must have been days when discouragement threatened to halt the massive project. Not a single person believed that the holy God of heaven was going to destroy the earth with a flood. But in spite of being laughed at and ridiculed for their faith, Noah and his family continued to follow the plan that God had given them.
Just as in Noah's day, life can look pretty bleak to me. Reading the local news proves that sin and wickedness is alive and well today, too. When heartache and loss are waiting outside my door, I'm faced with a decision. Will I lose hope and cave in to circumstances? Or cling to the hope I have in Christ, trusting that He is still in control? Will I decide to quit, choosing to crawl into bed and pull the covers up over my head? Or will I continue to follow the plan He's laid out for me?
Noah's story is encouraging. He continued to do the right thing, even when difficult circumstances didn't change. After 120 years, Noah didn't have a single neighbor or relative join him on the ark. Only he and his immediate family were saved from the flood waters. He was so secure in his relationship with God that he was able to keep his eyes focused on his Master. He refused to let the actions of others discourage him from the work God had called him to do.
When challenges surround me and there's no light at the end of the tunnel, I can lean on the words of the Apostle Paul, "And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not," (Galatians 6:9). My job is to continue doing what the Lord has called me to do, trusting my Heavenly Father with the outcome.
Are you easily discouraged when circumstances are challenging and they stay that way? What needs to change in order for you to keep your eyes on the Lord?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I'm so grateful that You are in control. When circumstances seem bleak, help me draw on Your strength and continue doing what You've given me to do. I know the outcome is in Your hands. In Jesus' name, Amen.