The only one that believed the Bible was true? The only one that believed in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ? The only one that believed a relationship with the God of the Universe was possible? The only one that believed you could regularly commune with God the Holy Spirit? The only one that believed in absolute Truth? What if?
That’s how it was for Noah. In his day, he was the only man leading a Godly life in a world of insanity and sin. If that wasn’t lonely enough, God came to him with a task that not only seemed impossible to achieve but would be impossible for others to grasp. He would have to be willing to lose all respect, all dignity, all friendships – and spend all of his finances, all of his time, and probably all of his emotional strength convincing his family members to join the effort (and that he wasn’t going nuts).
The difference between Noah’s day and our day is that there was nothing redeemable about the masses of people around him, and no way to save them all. The ark he would build was a type and shadow of Jesus himself, salvation from the rising waters that would consume everyone but Noah and his immediate family (and the “two by twos” that would share the ride, of course).
Today we have an invisible Jesus instead of a visible ark, and He’s big enough to stow away the entire world in His galleys, stalls, quarters and corridors. Back then Noah was offering his family salvation from death by water. Today we’re offering everyone the free gift of salvation from death by fire.
But the question I’m wrestling with in relationship to Noah is this: what if that were me? What if everyone in my world turned on God and I was faced with the choice of Him, or them? Would I be strong enough, confident enough and secure enough in what I believe and know to be true to stand alone? What if I was the last one?
It’s really not that far-fetched of a scenario, because the fact is we are routinely asked to stand alone for Christ. We may gather with dozens, hundreds or thousands of believers at our churches on the weekend, but on Monday many of us face an entire cubicle farm, floor, building, job site or team of people that don’t know or serve Jesus as Lord and Savior. Then there’s our families, where many of us stand alone as pioneers on the straight and narrow when our closest blood relatives call us crazy behind our backs (or sometimes to our faces) for our dedication to faith in Christ. And in every one of those situations God is asking us to build an ark of salvation out of the wood and nails of the cross of Christ, gluing it all together with the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony, and following the blueprint of the Word of God in all we do and say. Showing the same people that call us crazy where (and Who) the door to the Ark is, even though it seems like they don’t want to know.
If you’ve ever felt like Noah, I want to encourage you that you’re actually not alone. You are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses. What an advantage over what Noah faced.
But I do want to challenge you (and me) to still have a Noah mentality, because the enemy of our souls will work hard to make us feel like we’re the only ones. We need to do what God is telling us to do like Noah did—no matter the cost. The spiritual lives of our spouses and children and the generations that follow depend on it—and so do those of the relatives, friends, colleagues and acquaintances living this life with us that are invited into the ark (this time around) to escape eternal death. And the analogy continues, because we will one day begin again with Jesus Christ at the center of a new heaven and new earth where all sin and wickedness has been eliminated, and we are tasked with bringing as many people with us as possible into that eternal existence.
To bring people into the Ark of Jesus it will take authentic Christianity—the brand that isn’t perfect, but strives to be perfect as He is perfect and comes before Him (and others) with a broken and contrite heart when we fall short of His glory. The type of Christianity that doesn’t just go with the flow, but stands against the tide of mainstream opinion and thought and against the steady flow of those careening down the wide road, holding out Truth and offering them a different path filled with the difficulty of obedience but resulting in life and life more abundantly when the storms of life inevitably come.
It will take boldness, and we will lose friendships and respect. But we will win new friendships as a result and enjoy the fruit of righteousness, and we will have the joy of showing others how to do the same.
Maybe there’s more to the analogy of being fishers of men than just the obvious identification with the trade of the disciples. Jesus knew He was asking all of us that would follow Him to be present-day Noah’s. He knew He was asking us to stand alone as we enter His Ark, and that we would be fishing men out of a rising tide of filth and wickedness once we got onboard.
We are all offered the opportunity to be present-day Noah’s, so set your face like a flint no matter what they say.
Read the blueprints—no, more than that—memorize and meditate on them day and night.
Obey and don’t give up, because the rain is coming, except this time you’re not alone. Your Ark is alive, and Jesus is both Boat and Captain.