On that very day Noah and his sons… together with his wife and the wives of his three sons entered the ark…. Then the Lord shut [them] in. Gen. 7:13, 15-16
He couldn’t have done it alone. We tend to see Noah’s story as his… alone. But that’s not what scripture says. Eight adults took the steps of faith needed to make it on that ark. And let’s face it, from what most of us know about life and trying to manage a household with kids, no one really does it alone.
My husband is on an overseas trip. His first of many. He’s stepping into the role God has called him to and gifted him for and it’s exciting to watch him thrive. It’s also tempting for me to think, “What about me, God? I want to follow your call. I’m willing for you to use me. When do I get to go? I’m left behind with our three sons… where’s the glamour in that?”
This is not the first time I’ve wrestled with thoughts like these. Not the first time I’ve watched others step into new roles, roles I’d love to fill: a spot on a cheerleading squad that went to the one with a popular football-playing older brother; a part in a musical number that went to the one with finer vocal skills; a teaching position that went to the one with flashier stories and a younger face…
I’m not bitter. Not anymore.
No, really I’m not!
Yes, it was hard being passed over, or feeling like I didn’t get my due. But now that I’m 40-something and have been seasoned a bit by marriage and disappointment, I look for the unique ways God has gifted each of us and the roles He wants each of us to play.
When God is calling in the context of family, each of us has a role to play.
I mean, think about it. Noah’s wife had to be “on board” with this ark building project!
She had to pick up the slack when Noah’s other household chores went undone. She had to feed her family with limited resources while living on the ark… no refrigeration! She had to step inside the smelly ark loaded with wild animals (and snakes!), even when none of her friends would join her. She had to be willing to start again, rebuilding house and homestead in a new place once the waters receded. She stood by her man. She didn’t hold him back. She didn’t squash his dream. Maybe she even dreamed along with him…
She is a model of how to walk beside a man of faith, a man called by God to do the work of God.
Sadly, many of the other wives mentioned in scripture aren’t model supportive partners. Remember Abraham’s wife, Sarah – too impatient to wait on God’s timing for a promised child; or Lot’s wife – too tied the the comforts of Sodom to fix her eyes on the one who came to rescue; or David’s wife, Michal – too concerned with maintaining her royal image to engage in joy-filled worship. And then of course, Adam’s wife, Eve, who was too curious about what God might have withheld from them to stay the course and obey.
Of course, God’s purposes in these men’s lives wasn’t thwarted by the support they lacked from their wives. God is not limited by our disobedience. But, I do think we miss out on some of the joy He desires for us when we obey.
I want to be as faithful, industrious, resourceful, creative and loyal as Noah’s wife.
Let me not complain when my husband is distracted by work. Let me pick up the slack and come alongside to cheer on and celebrate steps of faith. Let me support him in struggles and cloudy vision, and lie with him after long, exhausting days. I know that’s a high bar to set. And I know I won’t reach it perfectly. But Noah’s wife has shown me a little bit of what it might look like.
You have called us both, my Father. You have equipped and supplied and enabled us both. So even though right now, I’m the one called to stay behind, I thank you for this role. I thank you for the specific ways you’ve equipped me, and I thank you for what you are building in me as I wait on You. Let us both run with endurance this marathon of faith.