Are You Building An Ark?

Looking for applause and for feedback is often a natural response for us. Since the time we're little, we look for a reaction on mom and dad's face as an indicator of how well we're doing at something. The sound of silence is never a welcome reaction. It leaves us off-kilter wondering if we've done something wrong.

Enter ministry. Or reality. Or following after God and going after His great adventure. Imagine the people not understanding. Or helping. Or walking alongside you. Can you imagine how lonely it can be?

Or perhaps you don't have to imagine. Perhaps, like the Apostle Paul you've walked into a situation knowing full well it would lead to danger, but still were surprised to find yourself all alone. Or misunderstood. Perhaps those who know you best and love you most have doubted whether you have God's call on your life. Perhaps you're blinking back tears as you read this.

I've been going through a period of time lately, for all of my life. I've wondered whether God really had a purpose for me and whether I was even a mistake. The ministry He's called me to is strange and different from others doing music, or writing, or political activism. I am a radio show host, producer, songwriter, journalist, who loves to make music videos, dream under the stars and who often deals with the smashed hopes of my unbridled optimism. I make Christian punk-rock music but also love, by God's grace, to craft hymns authentically of the Celtic style of 800 years past.

I'd like to take a break from the general flow of your average blog post and ask if you'd just like to take a walk with me while I pour out my thoughts.

I think a lot, it's usually how I spend my time while doing other things. I think about things, pray, read the Bible, notice people, hum tunes and dream sweet dreams. I don't have a large cheering section as my natural support system – my family – is fragmented and broken. It hurts me everyday. It puts me off balance to the point where I feel a strong wind could knock me over. But onward I go.

And as I walk on I feel quite lonely. I do not hear thunderous applause or see the knowing smile on the faces of the people. And I feel quite lost. It's human to question if the direction we're going is right when we're not told we're doing a good job. Or when others don't know what to make of you.

But here's the thing: if we're following God, then truly, we are going the right way. Applause is not mandatory nor is it a sign of what direction we should be going.

Consider Noah. He was probably misunderstood man on earth. He converted no one except his immediate family. But he was working on an ark.

Everyday he got up and worked on his ark. The Bible said also that he was a preacher of righteousness. We know his preaching went unheeded. Meanwhile, everyday he went out and took sticks and hammer and nails, boards and wood and set about to his work. His lonely work. His long work. And for days, weeks, months, years, decades, and even a century, Noah went about doing the same thing until he had completed his project.

No one joined in. No one took stock and built a boat of their own or took seriously in any way what Noah was doing. He was determined and dedicated to his task and saw to doing it right. It may have seemed funny to other people. They have have mocked him. Or ignored him.

Did they think he was the silly old man working on his boat for what seemed like forever? Were they giving him unhelpful hints on why he was doing something dumb? Did they see him as a doomsday preacher who was all but laughable?

Imagine the stares as he loaded each of the animals unto the boat publicly. Imagine if Noah was your neighbor down the street. How did the people react?

We may never know. But what we do know is this: one day it started raining and Noah was ready.

He didn't have to scramble and try to find driftwood with which to construct some flimsy raft on which to float until he and his family starved to death out at sea. He didn't have to come up with a makeshift plan as to what to do. He was ready. He had been working. And now it all made sense.

What you and I have been called to do sometimes doesn't make sense right now, especially to other people. Our times and our schedules may look weird and our calling may leave us feeling insecure. But if we're building an ark, quietly, but yet in public, there will come a day when we will need it to float. We will need it to be ready. And so, go on building. Despite the lack of applause and the accolades.

When you're ark building, your ship's seaworthiness is never built on praise, but is built on attention to detail. To masts and rudders and nails holding everything into place. To plans and to schemes mapped out and directed by God Himself. The wind holding you up, not letting you fail is put there by the God who is directing your steps.

So drive on, sea captain, drive on, when upon land and making a boat for a world who had never seen rain. Go on, you preacher who bleeds out revival to a people who have not yet been born again. Go on, you mama who holds little ones tight who don't yet understand the great shoes they will fill. Go on and lay down the foundations for the bow and the stern for the ship which will carry the sole survivors of the world.

Though they laugh, do it anyway. Though they mock, you have a worthy cause. Though the sun not shine upon you, carry on and do the work. One day when the rain drops fall you'll have a safe place to weather the storm, kept safe by the God who called you to do a work nobody understood. May you be strongly encouraged and God bless you. 

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