Preparing for the flood

Our basement flooded during the Great Flood of 2010. We had suffered through days of relentless rain showers and watched the newscasts with weather predictions. We saw the devastation in Nashville and wondered if we would see any of the same damage here. Then, on that Sunday night, I walked downstairs around 9:00 pm. As soon as my foot hit the floor, the carpet billowed out in a wave. The water was quickly coming in from all sides.

 

We called friends from church for help. They came and vacuumed up water, tore out carpet and moved furniture until the wee hours of the morning. I feel tired just thinking about it.

 

With the excessive rains recently, I was reminded of that flood from years ago and also of Noah. You know the story: God looked around at the wickedness of His people and decided to start over. He told Noah to build a boat for his family and the animals because a flood was coming. He followed God’s instructions and made the ark. The rains came down and the floods came up (wrong Sunday school song but it works here), and they were saved. Cue rainbow. End scene.

 

It’s important to note that it took Noah somewhere around 75 years to build the ark. That’s about 27,000 mornings of Noah waking up, dragging his 500+ year old body out the bed, and starting another day of carpentry with his sons. And you know how difficult it can be to work with your children. I’m sure there were days when Shem gathered the wrong kind of wood. (I asked for gopher wood! Gopher wood! Is that so difficult?!)Ham was acting like a…well, a ham, trying to walk across the upper beams like a tightrope walker. And don’t get me started on Japheth! The baby of the family was always complaining about a splinter in his finger or his sandal was rubbing against his ankle or the male and female tigers had attacked him. Always something with that Japheth!

 

Even though it took several decades to build the ark, the Lord held off the rain until they were finished. He told Noah when to begin and then He watched Noah & Sons Building Co. as they were faithful to his word. He watched them measure every cubit and round up every animal. They continued to work without a definite sign the world would be destroyed by flood, and God saw them.

 

The author of the Book of Hebrews includes Noah in his “Faith Hall of Fame.” Noah is described as someone who trusted God. “When he heard God’s warning about the future, Noah believed him even though there was then no sign of a flood, and wasting no time, he built the ark and saved his family. Noah’s belief in God was in direct contrast to the sin and disbelief of the rest of the world—which refused to obey—and because of his faith he became one of those whom God has accepted.” (TLB)

 

This is no easy task—trusting without anything concrete to back it up except a warning from the Lord. There are times when God gives us a charge. When we obey, we have our start time and a promise that He’s watching us as we wait for the finish. It may not end the way we’re expecting (Could Noah have ever imagined he’d see something as glorious as a rainbow?) but I’m trusting God knows how it’s supposed to end.

Cheerleader

I was never a cheerleader in school. For most anyone who knows me (or who has seen me attempt to clap and sing simultaneously in church or have a conversation while jogging on a treadmill without tripping myself), this is not a big surprise. I was more of a “help-paint-banners-for-the-pep-rally” kind of girl, which doesn’t involve cartwheels or rhythm or a basic understanding of sports.

 

In spite of this, I do find opportunities to cheer people on (no pom-poms required).

 

My older sister texted me the other day and said, “I need a pep talk. I don’t want to go to the grocery store.”

 

Here was my reply: “You got this!! It’s a magical place!! Your children won’t be there!! You can lean on the cart when you get tired!! You can go to the deli and ask for cheese samples!!”

 

Miraculously she responded that it worked! She was on her way to Kroger!

 

This should’ve been my career—Professional Pep Talker. People could sign up for my services (maybe download an app on their phones? Something I understand as well as I understand sports), and then they could text me when they need motivation. Dear Penny Pep Talk, tell me why I need to finish this research paper? Or Hey Pep Talk Lady! I’m going crazy! I just can’t match any more of my kids’ socks! Help!It would be so fun!

 

Being able to cheer each other on is one of the best parts of being human. The Apostle Paul knew this when he told the church in Thessalonica, “So encourage each other to build each other up, just as you are already doing.” (TLB) Paul encouraged them to keep on encouraging each other.

 

I recently spent a few weeks teaching a Bible class for women at my church on Wednesday nights. Talk about professional encouragers! These ladies are phenomenal! Women of different generations sat around tables and drank up the reassuring news from the Scriptures. Then they poured out love on each other, building up their sisters. Paul would’ve been so proud!

 

So here’s the good news: if you always wanted to be a cheerleader but never made the squad, you’ve got another chance. Someone somewhere sometime today is going to need your encouragement. Two, four, six, eight! Who do we appreciate? Encouragers!!