Today’s readings (click to open in a new window): Psalms 19; 150, Genesis 7:1-10, 17-23, Ephesians 4:1-16, Mark 3:7-19
The line between faith an insanity can be hard to identify. When Noah heard the voice of God telling him to build an ark, he must have questioned which side of the line he was on. His neighbors, friends, and family – the ones who didn’t scoff at him outright – surely had questions as well. How must it have felt to explain the enormous construction project going on in his back yard? Following God’s orders very likely ruined his reputation as a stable individual. At least until the rains started.
Not everything God would have us do will make sense to the outside world – and maybe not even to ourselves. Showing generosity to people who haven’t earned it, granting mercy to those who have wronged us, taking in strangers – these things seem scandalous by worldly standards. When God “asks” us to do something – through intuition, conscience, or other means – are we strong enough to ignore the mocking, sometimes hostile voices discouraging us? We probably won’t be asked to accomplish something as huge as 1.5 million cubic feet of boat, but when we open ourselves to ridicule the burden may feel almost as enormous.
When Noah and his family closed the door of the ark, they had no idea how long they might be afloat or what their final fate might be. Following God often means the faith that we are doing the right thing must be sufficient to carry us through dark and confusing times. We want to be sure we are on the right side of that line between faithful and crazy, but we often don’t. When it comes to leaps of faith we can pray, discern, and hope … but we can never be 100% sure. If we turn out to be wrong, or if things just turn out differently than expected, listening to that voice the next time may be difficult.
Not every little whim is a calling from God, but sometimes we need to risk looking a little crazy. That’s OK. We may turn out to be the only one with the good sense to get out of the rain.
Comfort: Faith may ask crazy things of us, but God will see us through.
Challenge: Is anything you have left undone nagging at your conscience? If so, pray and meditate on what’s holding you back.