Better in the Boat
Amy Carroll

"By the twenty-seventh day of the second month the earth was completely dry. Then God said to Noah, 'Come out of the ark, you and your wife and your sons and their wives.'" Genesis 8:14-16 (NIV)

The same thought came to me over and over again. "Call Jennifer," the thought repeated insistently. I really couldn't imagine why I would need to call her. Jennifer had been in the youth group that Barry and I briefly led years before. Although I had been very close to her at the time, I hadn't thought about Jennifer for years, so I ignored my thoughts and didn't call.

Months later, I ran into Jennifer's mother at the mall. At the exact time that I had felt such a need to call her, Jennifer had been lying in bed in the hospital close to death. She had complications with the delivery of her baby and had almost died. Suddenly, I knew that it wasn't just my own thoughts that had prompted me to get in touch. God, who knows all things, had been urging me to connect with Jennifer again during a period of great need in her life. To this day I grieve that I ignored God's direction and wonder how I might have been of help to my friend. If only I had listened and obeyed.

In the account of the flood in Genesis 7 and 8, God speaks to Noah very specifically each step of the way. First, God gives Noah stunningly specific directions on how to build the ark. After the rains, flood and drying out period (a total of 371 days), Noah again waits for God's voice to come out of the ark.

I find that amazing. I imagine myself in a boat surrounded completely and utterly by water with my family and innumerable animals for 371 days. I'm afraid that I would be scrambling out onto land for a little "me time" as soon as it looked dry enough! For two verses (Gen. 8:13-14), it is clear that although the land was dry, Noah was waiting for God to speak. He was not going to move until he heard God's voice with the next set of directions.

In a beautiful scene in CS Lewis' book The Horse and His Boy, Hwin, a wise horse in the story, faces a fierce lion. The lion, Aslan, is the perfect picture of the Lord in all His glory. The story continues like this: "Then Hwin, though shaking all over, gave a strange little neigh and trotted across to the Lion. 'Please,' she said, 'you're so beautiful. You may eat me if you like. I'd sooner be eaten by you than fed by anyone else.'"

Noah seems to have come to the same place as this wise creature. In Noah's case it's as if he is saying to God, "I would rather spend the rest of my days in this boat (and he lived to be 950!) than to take one step toward land without You." Noah trusted God and believed that God would speak to him to give him the best direction. He is a model of righteousness that is lived out in complete obedience to God's voice.

One of my greatest struggles is self-sufficiency. I long to be changed, though, into a woman who lives straining to hear God's voice in every circumstance. God is looking for men and women today who will commit to the life-style that Noah embraced. He longs for children who will "rest in the boat" until He moves them forward.

Lord, so often I run ahead of You. Please help me to walk with You, listening for Your voice with each step. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do You Know Him?

He Speaks to Me by Priscilla Shirer

The Bare Bones Bible Handbook: 10 Minutes to Understanding Each Book of the Bible by Jim George

Visit Amy’s blog

Application Steps:
Include a time of silence in your prayer time. He wants to speak to you!

Pay attention to those "strong feelings" as you go about your day. Ask God if they are from Him. For those who have entrusted our lives to Him, we are filled with His Holy Spirit and can trust His leadings.

Have I ever missed an opportunity by ignoring God's voice?

How can I make sure that I don't miss future opportunities?

Power Verses:
Isaiah 30:21, "Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, 'This is the way; walk in it.'" (NIV)

Proverbs 8:34, "Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway." (NIV)

© 2009 by Amy Carroll. All rights reserved.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for that great devotion today. I love the Lord, but I must admitt I don't listen to HIM very well, when I pray I do alot of talking to HIM, and whenit comes time to be silent and listen it's so hard. But I notice that GOD speaks through all sorts of things and people not just while we are praying or having silent time, like right now as I am writing this, my 2 yr old and 4 yr old are watching nickelodeon and the little cartoon people are singing a song saying "listen, listen, listen!" Ok I feel God telling me through that song as well as through thias devotion it is really time for you to listen, listen and listen! Alot of the heartaches and pain I am having can be avoided if I will just be still and listen to what GOD is saying to me. Ok I get it, thanks for your help and allowing GOD to use you to speak to me today! Blessings!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Amy,

Thank you SO MUCH for this encouragement! I have been struggling with something for the past couple of months. I have been praying the prayer that was given for a New Year's Resolution (posted on here back in January), and I long with all my heart to be closer to God and to change. I have been lonely a lot lately, wanting a friend - just one friend instead of being used (at least that's the way it feels). I talked it over with my mom last night, and she mentioned it isn't me being used it's the gift God gave me that's being used for His purpose. Then I explained the prayer I had been praying and my mom smiled over the phone (I just knew she was smiling) and said the Lord is answering my prayer; just not the way I want Him to but He is. :) And right now I'm to wait upon Him and let Him be my one friend.

Thank you for the encouragement of being in the boat, living & breathing Him, waiting on Him for His direction. Thank you!!

Anonymous Greg S. said...

First and foremost, I'm going to let you know that I am a man and have been receiving your emails from a WONDERFUL, Christ-Centered woman named Carolyn who knows of the internal battle I am having within myself. She forwared Tuesday's message and I couldn't believe how much of it I could relate to. Next came Wednesday, Thursday and today's. And within each one, the message was becoming clearer and clearer. However, the one from today, "Stay in the boat" was GODs words directly to me! They couldn't have been any clearer....."Rest in the Boat until HE moves me forward"
Thank you and I encourage MEN to turn to this as well.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The waiting I could certainly understand and relate to.My family has been going through hardship for at least 8 months now ,and just as we thought it was all coming to its end we had to wait some more I realize now Gods plan. For I have seen a couple of things kind of coming together and what I make of it all is God is talking to me letting me know I am not alone and he is with me every step of the way and to believe and trust in him.The important message in all is to stay focus and realize how great his love is, and we are never alone.

Anonymous amandasewickley said...

When I saw the title of today's devotion, "Better in the Boat", I mistakenly thought it was about the disciples in the raging storm when Jesus walked to them and told Peter to get out of the boat and walk to him. At one point, when he began to sink, I'm sure he thought, Oh I was better off in the boat, not taking a risk! But of course, Jesus taught him another lesson, that we need to step out and trust him.

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