Open Your Bible
Genesis 5:28-29, Genesis 6:11-22, Genesis 7:1-12, Genesis 8:13-22, Genesis 9:1-17, Psalm 9:10, Romans 8:28-30
My husband and I swore we would never plant a church.
We didn’t have the personalities for it. We didn’t have the risk tolerance. We didn’t have the entrepreneurial skill set it demanded. And besides, we had seen other people start churches and knew how hard it was. We believed in church planting, but it was for “other people,” we said.
And then, God called us to plant a church.
For months we resisted. We considered other options. We interviewed for other jobs. We asked God to confirm His calling while secretly hoping He would not. This was not the story we had chosen for ourselves.
Radical obedience to God makes for great Sunday school lessons and bedtime stories, and Noah’s Ark is one of the most beloved. A man called by God, so late in his life, to do something remarkably ludicrous by the world’s standards: to build an ark on dry ground, large enough to hold animals of every kind. It is a fun story to tell, but the reality of radical obedience is a different matter. It is scary. It is uncomfortable. It is risky. And sometimes, it is embarrassing.
We can only imagine how Noah might have felt throughout the construction of the ark. What was the reaction of the surrounding community? Did they question his state of mind?
As often as we tell this story to our children, as often as we reenact the animals marching two by two, and as often as we remember the importance of trusting God’s character, we sometimes miss the utter foolishness of Noah’s faithfulness. In Noah’s story and many others’ throughout Scripture, it is impossible to obey and maintain one’s dignified reputation. They have to choose. As do we.
This is the less talked about side of following God. Yes, it is hard. Yes, we sacrifice. Yes, it is painful. But the part of faithfulness that sometimes catches us by surprise is the humiliation of it. The whispers. The stares. The questions about your motives. The doubts about your leadership. The absence of support. The silence. The skepticism about whether or not you really heard from God.
We cannot miss this part of Noah’s story—his willingness to look like a fool—because this is, very often, what we are saying yes to when we say yes to God. Thankfully, we have historical figures like Noah to remind us who God is and why we can trust Him. And more importantly, we also have Christ, who obediently became a fool, endured mockery, and suffered total humiliation because He knew the end of the story. This so-called foolishness is the narrow path we are called to, but because of spiritual ancestors like Noah, and because of Christ Himself, we know that no matter what God calls us to—whether we would have chosen it or not—we are never doing it alone.