This post is part of my Foundation 2019 series. Read why I chose “Foundation” as my word for the year here.
In 2019, I’m doing the Bible in One Year reading plan in the YouVersion app. I think it’s absolutely the greatest thing ever for two reasons:
- They’ve got it all planned out for you and locked and loaded with an AUDIO OPTION. All I have to do is plug-in my headphones and press “play” and the daily devotion teaching and the assigned passages of scripture play back to back to back right into my ears and I don’t have to do a thing.
- The devotions are done by Nicky Gumbel and his wife, Pippa, and they are absolutely delightful. I first encountered him when I did the Alpha Course years ago at the Episcopal church I was attending in Lakewood, WA and he is quite possibly the Britishest dude ever. He used to work as a “barrister” before becoming a “vicar” and I just love listening to every gracious word he says. I’m getting so, so much out of his and Pippa’s insights, possibly more than I’ve ever gotten out of any other plan or study.
One dark, frosty morning in very early January, my husband and I headed out before the sun was even up to drop our car off at the dealership to see if they could finally figure out what is making that infernal squeaking noise in the heating system. On the drive there, I listened to the daily readings, which included the story of Noah in Genesis.
God seems to dole out Scriptural insights to me incrementally, giving me a little more and a little more each time I listen to or read a passage. This time, the thing that stuck out to me was the end of Noah’s time on the Ark, when he was trying to figure out when the time was right to get off of the boat.
I don’t know about you, but if I had been trapped on a boat with my entire extended family and a bunch of animals for weeks upon weeks, I would be getting off that boat at the very first sign of land and never looking back.
First, he sent a raven. Then he waited. Then he sent a dove. Then he waited. Then, he sent the dove again. Then he waited some more.
And not until the time was very perfectly exactly right, when the water had not only receded but the earth had sufficiently dried out, only then did he finally disembARK (see what I did there?).
What struck me about this was not so much Noah’s patience, although that is some remarkably significant patience being demonstrated right there, but the level of communication Noah has to have had with God- not only during the process of figuring out when to get off the boat, but through the whole entire saga.
I mean, the whole thing started with God telling Noah to build a giant boat because He was going to send an epic flood, the likes of which the world had never before seen. What kind of lines of communication did Noah have to have open with God in order to not only hear that,but to believe it as well? No wonder God was well-pleased with Noah and picked him alone to carry on for the entire human race.
And then again at the end of the journey…it’s not like Noah, or anyone else for that matter, had ever done this before. This wasn’t like farming where best practices and customs had been handed down for generations. Noah would not have had a whole lot of experience knowing exactly when to get off of a boat when a flood that had engulfed the entire world had finally receded. This was uncharted territory and while Scripture doesn’t explicitly tell us this, Noah had to be talking to God through the whole process in order to discern the steps and the timing.
As I sat there in the parking lot of the Honda dealership, waiting to pick my husband up to drive back home (and silently praying they would find the origin of the fan-squeak), I thought to myself, “Man, I want Noah-Level Communication with God.”
I want to have the lines wiiiiiiiide open enough that when God tells me to do something, no matter how big and out-of-the-box, I’d be like, ‘Ok, God! I hear you. I’m on it.’ And then when it’s time to wait, even if every fiber of my being is urging me to get off the danged boat, so to speak, I’d be like, “Ok God! I hear you. I’ll wait.”
And it’s on me to make that happen. Well, I mean, it’s a cooperative effort between me and God, I can do nothing on my own apart from Him. But it’s my side of the conversation that needs the work. His ways are already perfect. He is up there at all times, being Holy and Worthy and Mighty, just holding the blueprints of my mind, body and soul, looking at the roadmap for my entire life, just waiting for me to open up the line so He can get through and tell me what I need to hear.
Part of my Foundation work this year is going to be working on my prayer practices and listening ears. I’ve checked out a book from the library on centering prayer (and I’m not doing super well with it, I might add. But, I’m trying). I’m going to try ALL OF THE THINGS.
Because I want to hear God loud and clear, both when He says, “go” and when He says “wait.” I wan’t Noah-level communication in place so that if God needs an ark built or needs me to wait before going forward, I will hear Him loud and clear.
2019 is my year for that.
So, help me out! What are some of your favorite prayer practices? What should I try? What books should I read?