I’ve been reading the One Year Bible every year for almost 25 years now. Some years I stay on track and get all the way through, and some years…not so much.
But every year I get through Genesis. I read about creation. The fall. Cain and Able. Enoch.
And Noah. I like Noah. Every year there’s something in my journal about Noah.
I like how God told him to build the ark and how specific He was about it. Make it this long and wide and high. Put the door here. Use this wood. Build three decks. Bring the animals. Bring food. Bring your family with you.
And Noah did it. It doesn’t say how long it took. It didn’t really matter. God didn’t give him a deadline. He just said, “Get it done.” And all that mattered was that he obeyed. (Selah – we get more concerned about time than God. Just sayin’)
When it was all ready, He told him to take his family and all the animals into the boat. And God closed the door behind them.
Noah was 600 years old when he stepped on the boat. The rains flooded the earth and then stopped, and it took months and months before the waters were completely dried up. Just over a year, actually.
And finally God told him, “Get off the boat, Noah. It’s time to start over.”
He was 601 years old when he started over.
601 years old.
Six. Hundred. And. One. Years. Old.
Two things that made me go Hmmmm….:
1. You’re never too old to start something new.
I have so many things in my heart. Things God put there. Dreams that I’ve held onto for years and still have yet to see faith made sight, and it’s easy to think, “Lord, I think the time is past. I must have missed it. It’s too late now.”
But really, it’s not. God’s not as concerned about time as we are. He wouldn’t have planted the seed there if He didn’t mean for it to happen. Just keep watering it in prayer. It will come to pass. He’ll open the door and you’ll walk right off the boat and right into the next season.
2. What happened to the ark?
Have you ever thought about it? He got off the ark. His family got off. The animals got off. They didn’t need it anymore. What did they do with it?
The ark served a purpose. God ordained it. It was His idea. It was necessary to preserve life. It was a place of safety and security and refuge.
But once they got off it and onto dry land again, it was no longer necessary. Even though it was part God’s plan, in the new season it was time to let it go and move on.
Maybe it stood there as a memorial, so that every time they looked at it they remembered.
I wonder if they took it apart and used it for firewood for cooking or to keep warm. Or maybe they dismantled it and used it to build houses. I don’t know. The Bible doesn’t really say, but I like to think they that they used it in their new adventure, even if they didn’t use it in exactly the same way.
The seasons we come out of are never useless. They’re never wasted. The good, the bad, and the ugly – the seasons in our past made us who we are. They’re a part of us. A part of our story.
And God can use every single one of them if we let Him. Even the ones we didn’t like. The ones we like to hide. The ones we want to forget about.
I’ve had some pretty good seasons. They were bright and sunny, like a day at the beach. And they had a purpose. Time to study. To sow into prayer. To relax and rest.
And I’ve had some of the bad seasons. The ugly ones. Where you’re barely holding on and wondering how this fits into the plan. Fits into the dream. Where He shut me into the ark and the storm was raging and I wondered if I’d ever get off the boat.
And those have purpose too. I have come out of the boat every single time onto dry and steady ground. And I’ve been able to turn around to someone in the middle of their storm and say, “It’s going to be okay. Hang on. This is how He helped me. He’ll help you too. You’re not alone.”
Our past is part of our future, and if we keep walking with Him, chances are we’ll have to build a boat, use the boat, and then get off the boat. At 601. And start all over again.
And that’s okay too. Get out of the boat. Take what you learned in the last season and use it to help you start the next one. And run full speed at it.
What’s stopping you?