December 03, 2015


Genesis 8:6-17

Noah . . . waited seven more days and sent the dove out again, but this time it did not return to him.

—  Genesis 8:11-12

Noah waited. There was not much else he could do. Noah was in a huge boat, the ark, and the earth was covered with water. Waiting for the water to recede was all he could do, and it was a long wait.

When the ark came to rest on a mountain, Noah waited forty days before opening a window and sending out a raven and then a dove. Then he waited seven more days before sending the dove out again, and another seven before sending it one last time.

There was not much else Noah could do, but each time Noah sent out a bird, his hope was bolstered. The raven “kept flying back and forth,” perhaps landing to roost on the ark sometimes, or on floating debris, or on the nearby mountains that were visible. When the dove returned, it came to land in Noah’s hand. When it came back with an ­olive leaf, Noah knew the ­waters had receded nearly all the way. Then, after more than a year since the flood had begun, God called Noah out of the ark.

As we wait for Christ’s coming, we look for signs that God remembers us. Sometimes the sign is hard to read, like that of a raven “flying back and forth.” Sometimes the sign is as small as an olive leaf. But these encourage us in our waiting and ensure us that God remembers us in our need, even as God remembered Noah and all who were with him.

Almighty God, as the days of our waiting stretch ahead of us, assure us that you remember us, that we may continue to find our hope in you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

About the author — Norman Visser

Norman Visser has served as a pastor of churches in Ontario, Nova Scotia, and South Dakota. He states that while he is “not known for waiting patiently,” he is “working on it.” Norman and his wife, Marcia, have three children.

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