“Then the Lord shut him in.” Genesis 7:16
Imagine what is must have been like for Noah and his family to finally board the ark. It was like moving into a barn chocked full of animals. There was nothing exotic about it at all. It was a three story, windowless monstrosity. It’s only source of natural light and fresh air was an eighteen inch gap at the very top just under the eaves of the roof that extended all around the perimeter of the ark.
And the ark had not been constructed to sit placidly on a plain. It was built to weather a natural catastrophe and the storm of the ages. Within hours of God’s all-aboard call, the underground waters would erupt from the depths of the earth and mighty torrents of rain would be loosed from the heavens. The Bible tells us that God himself closed the door in the side of the ark after everyone was on board. And with that He literally shut Noah and his family in to faith.
Do you know what being shut in to faith is like? Remember the last time you went on a scary ride at the amusement park? How did you feel when the attendant closed the door and cinched the safety bar across your lap? That was the point of no return and like it or not, you were shut in to faith. Within seconds you were about to be whisked away on the ride of your life. And there was nothing you could do but trust God that those maintaining the mechanics and operation of everything were doing their jobs.
Being shut in to faith is both exhilarating and terrifying. When God shut the door of the ark and all hell broke loose outside, what must have been going through the minds of Noah and company. This was the mother of all storms. It was a non-stop forty day thunderstorm and torrential downpour. At first there was the wailing and gnashing of teeth of those outside the ark begging to come on board. Then, as that subsided, the ark began to be lifted up and tossed to and fro upon the stormy sea. The waters would continue to flood the earth for another 150 days.
Noah must have wondered what he had gotten himself into. Besides the storm raging outside there was the 24/7 life at the zoo on the inside. Imagine the noise and the stench of such an experience. Being shut into faith is one thing. Being shut in a barn for over a year with animals that require feeding and shoveling manure was quite another.
And yet in the midst of all this, Noah and family could do but one thing – trust God. And here is how they did that. They looked up. God had insured that they could not look outside at all the destruction or the stormy sea. There were no windows. But He did insure that they could look up. The eighteen inches of daylight streaming in at the roof line was their window to heaven. They could look to the heavens from whence cometh their help. They could look to God and to His mercy.
Being shut into faith is a waiting game. It requires patient endurance. It requires looking up to God and confessing that He is faithful and has not forgotten you. And low and behold we are told that after one hundred and fifty days, “God remembered Noah…and He sent His wind over the earth.” (Genesis 8:1)
When we are shut into faith we long to hear those words. We long for God to break His silence and intervene on our behalf. We long for God to remember us. We long for the storm and flooding to subside and for God to send the wind of His Spirit to rescue us. And God does it.
Being shut into faith is a redemptive process. God works mightily on our behalf as we are looking up to Him as our only light and hope in such a dark time. It is a time to grow in our trust and to rest in the timing of His plan. When God shuts you in, you can be assured that He also intends to remember you and insure a bright future for you.
Can you think of times you have been “shut in to faith”? What did you learn about the ways for God? How did God turn your trial into a redemptive experience?
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