Saturday, March 24, 2012

My Nightmare -- Drowning in the Atchafalaya

When I was driving down to seminary once a quarter or so, I drove the I10 bridges from Lafayette to Baton Rouge over the Atchafalaya Basin. Then there was another long bridge below Baton Rouge to New Orleans. To say I was under a heavy load during this time of my life would be an understatement. I was a wife, mom, full-time employee, women’s ministry leader, and graduate student – and everything that those roles imply. Some of my relationships were stretching thin as well as my nerves.

One night I woke covered in sweat. I had a nightmare. I dreamed I was on the long bridge of the Atchafalaya when a tsunami-type wave came up in front of me destroying the bridge, and as it was coming down on my car, so many things were going through my mind. How do I get out of my car when it’s under water? I have electric windows. I knew I should have bought one of those glass-breaking do-ma-hickeys. And then my truck and I were in the water being pounded by the wave. I woke up gasping for air and frightened out of my mind.

The reason I bring that dream up now is because I’m studying Noah, and as I was reading it, I began to wonder about the people, what they were thinking, what they were going through, and what they experienced. I’d like to take a look from a few different positions in this entry and the next.

Noah – You think you know a man and his story, but you really don’t. He spent 100 years building an ark…by hand. There were no front-loaders, excavators, cranes. He and his sons built this mammoth ship for 100 years. And as he was building it, God provided. He had to provide otherwise how was his family taken care of? In Genesis 6, the Bible says that Noah did EVERYTHING God told him to do. I wish God could say that about me. So, Noah is building an ark for something that has never occurred in nature before. I wonder what the neighbors thought when Noah was building that monstrosity? “He is bringing down the value of our land with that thing!” I can only imagine the ridicule Noah must have endured, and yet He believed God for the unbelievable. He trusted that God was faithful to do what He said He would do, and God said He would destroy the earth. When it’s just you and God against the world, do you trust Him enough to stick it out during those rough times?

Noah’s wife – Jewish tradition says Naamah listed in Genesis 4:22, a descendent of Cain, was Noah’s wife. (1) Let’s just say that Naamah is Noah’s wife. She comes from a long line of evil men…murderers and married to several wives. Now she is married to Noah, a man of God, who only has one wife – her. Her husband comes to her and tells her what God has instructed him to do. Think some of her family was mocking them? I do. But you know what I read? I read that Noah’s wife stuck it out. If you have ever wanted to be a pastor’s wife, a minister’s wife, or wanted your daughter to marry one, think about Noah’s wife. Noah’s wife had to see her husband doing the back-breaking labor of building a ship the likes of which no one had ever seen and enduring ridicule and mockery from family, friends, and neighbors. Put yourself in her shoes. Do you think she cried? Do you think she was heart-broken for her husband? Not only that but she was called to serve along side of him. She entered the ark with Noah. She had to help tend the animals. She had to take care of her family. What strength, courage and endurance she must have had. That’s what pastor wives endure. If you aren’t praying for them, you should be. Get after it.

Sons and daughters-in-law – three sets. All working side-by-side to build the ark, to ensure the necessities of the animals would be met. They were following in obedience just as Noah and his wife were doing. My dad’s a ship builder. For some reason, I don’t think those words would have come out of their mouths because they were probably enduring the same hardships as the parents. And if you had a squabble with your man, who were you going to tell that didn't already know? I would be seriously claustrophobic in every way imaginable.

Reading the Bible and putting yourself in the shoes of those in the Scripture, makes you appreciate more the hardships that were overcome. It should encourage you that no matter what God tells you to do – no matter how unbelievable it is – that He is faithful to do exactly what He has said. Can the same be said of you? Are you trusting and following in obedience? No matter how strenuous your challenge is, He is bigger. He can bring the solution to you like He brought the animals to the ark. Do you trust Him?

(1) Patterson, Dorothy and Kelley, Rhonda. Women’s Evangelical Commentary Old Testament. Holman Reference. Nashville, TN. 2011. Pg 20

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