On this Tuesday of the Second Week of Lent, I continue my journey through Scott Hahn’s book, Lenten Reflections from A Father Who Keeps His Promises.
It has been over 20 years since I served on a U.S. Navy destroyer (USS DAHLGREN), but I can vaguely remember crossing the Atlantic Ocean, the vast immensity! It took some time crossing it, and even though we knew Europe was somewhere over that horizon, and that eventually we would make landfall, I could still find myself growing antsy as I waited for the glow of lights to appear on the horizon.
I can only imagine how Noah and his family might have felt for those months at sea, with no known horizon, waiting for somewhere to set foot on dry land. Stir crazy? Yet Noah found peace in his trust in the Lord.
On the DAHLGREN, before we got underway, we had to load enough supplies to feed the 400+ crew for at least the duration of the crossing. We needed to fill the fuel tanks and ensure we had enough spare parts for anything that might break on the 30-year-old rust bucket. In the days before embarking, the crew worked constantly preparing for the voyage—chipping, painting, fixing, training, etc.
How did Noah prepare for the floods? He obeyed God’s directions to a T.
Make yourself an ark of gopherwood, equip the ark with various compartments, and cover it inside and out with pitch.
This is how you shall build it: the length of the ark will be three hundred cubits, its width fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits.
Make an opening for daylight and finish the ark a cubit above it. Put the ark’s entrance on its side; you will make it with bottom, second and third decks.
Moreover, you are to provide yourself with all the food that is to be eaten, and store it away, that it may serve as provisions for you and for them.
What did Noah know about shipbuilding, of seamanship, of navigation? He was no mariner. He was a “man of the soil.” He was completely outside of his comfort zone. So what did Noah do? He relied completely on God’s instructions.
Personally, I could learn much from Noah’s example. Obedience doesn’t always come easy for me. And while Noah had a direct line with God, my obedience must be to those God has appointed to lead His Church, those He has anointed with the mantle of leadership. Just as the servants at Cana listened to Mary as she told them, “do whatever he tells you,” and were blessed with the finest wine, I too will be blessed by obedience to Christ through His Church.