We were touched by the comments from a reader of "Ark building," published in this column December 29, 2000. His mother sent the article to him, and here are excerpts from his response.
Your inspiration was just in time.
Lately we've been realizing what a big job our move is. The constraints of which schools will accept Laura, the colleges the boys will attend, transportation for everyone, finding a place to live, starting a new group of people at work, church work for the campus project, requires a lot more than 24/7. Without God, how could we even get up each morning?
Luckily we received the article "Ark building." We looked at Noah and felt a kindred pang. When God told him to build the ark, it seemed like a huge task, but he knew that God wouldn't ask him to do something he couldn't do. Probably shortly after starting, the ridicule, the doubt, the enormity of the task, set in. I loved the reference to Bill Cosby and his famous impression of Noah - "Hey God, do You know I have the only ark in the neighborhood?" We still have that record. What kept Noah going?
God told Noah the exact dimensions of the ark. Nothing like that happened to me. But I do feel God's presence and guidance. I feel Him letting me know what's right and wrong. I feel His Love, which inspires me to love others and make decisions based on a serving heart instead of a selfish heart.
Automatically, you cannot fail if glorifying God is your motive. Knowing that I cannot fail really took the pressure off. If your endeavor is inspired by God, He will keep you afloat. He will show you the solution no matter how absurd it seems. And in the end, when it all comes together, He will bless you for doing what He tells you to do.
It's so true that we are all building arks. Mine was this move to Michigan. It seemed completely absurd. We were happy in Japan. Becoming fluent in Japanese seemed like a great goal and a great way to serve God, save souls, provide for the family, and open new doors. I couldn't accept that God had another plan. Unlike Noah, I resisted relentlessly. On the other hand, "Noah did everything, just as God commanded him" (Gen. 6:22). I needed to be more like Noah.
How do we know when instructions are from God? The article showed it was easier than I thought. If you walk with God, your reason for everything becomes Him. If your reason is Love - to serve others, to glorify God - then the project has by definition come from God. In contrast, if your ark or project is motivated by greed, is done for self-serving and self-glorifying reasons, it's not an instruction from God. It's not an ark, and you won't be floating when the flood comes.
We almost gave up this week. Our prayers seemed to go unanswered. We couldn't find anyplace to live. Each of the kids was dealing with tough problems. Even the car was a source of argument. My job was demanding a trip to China, and the weather continued to make everything a huge task. We were literally drowning.
Thank God for the article. We were so inspired by Noah; we felt the story was written for us exclusively. We reexamined our motives. We love our kids and want to provide for our family so they can glorify God, too. The motives were right, so we went forward, knowing that God would keep us afloat while doing as He commanded.
Immediately, everything turned around. It was like watching a disaster movie on TV, when someone changes to The Disney Channel. The very next day, a builder showed us a home that he wanted to sell at a discount with no closing costs or real estate fees. It's two blocks from the school with the only comprehensive dyslexic program in Michigan. Our friend decided to turn in a leased car early, which we can get for half price (a '91 Taurus SL deluxe). The trip to China got postponed. I've had lunch with two people in two days, both of whom were so curious about my different attitude that they invited themselves to church. And to top it all off, the sun came out today!
Amen. Praise God!
(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Publishing Society