Here is a good story about listening:
I’m standing here on this ridge watching the water rise. Old Noah said it was gonna happen. In all my 300 years I’ve never seen anything like this. I’m not sure what to think of it.
The whole thing started quite a while ago – has to be nearly 100 years now. The old man started building this big thing he called an ark. Everyone said he’d gone nuts.
He said God had talked to him. He said everyone had been so evil that God was going to destroy the whole world. He was going to make it rain and flood everything.
I got to hear it pretty regular. You see, I’m a blacksmith. Old Noah’s been buying nails from me pretty much since I took over the business after my father died. He’s been in the shop so regular that I’ve tried to take pretty decent care of him. I’ve got a couple light weights for my scales – a guy’s gotta make a profit, you know – but I didn’t use them very much with Noah. If he wanted five pounds of nails, I tried to give him five pounds. There was something about the guy that just made you want to do right. Most guys I don’t mind gouging a bit. I’m sure they’ll do it to me if I’m not careful.
So Noah would come into the shop for nails and tell me all about the project – when he got all the ribs on the keel, which deck he was building, how he was doing gathering supplies – and we’d stop and have tea sometimes. Then he’d start talking about God and God’s sadness about what everybody was doing. He said God didn’t like the way people were living. My first wife used to come into the shop and listen a lot. Sometimes she would go down to his place on Saturdays and listen to him preach. Then she’d come home and preach at me. I finally turned her out. I couldn’t take it anymore. Old Noah didn’t come around for almost a year after that. Finally he came back – said he liked my product – but he was never quite the same. He would still tell me about God and tell me I needed to repent and ask me to come with him on the ark. I’d usually find a job that was due soon and have to get back to it.
So old Noah and his boys kept building – they ran short on regular work, but Noah was near 500 years-old and he’d done well in his carpentry business when he was younger, so being semi-retired didn’t hurt him too much. It probably helped him get the crazy thing done.
There it sat. He’d built the biggest boat anyone had ever seen. Some guys on the lake up north have some pretty big boats, but Noah’s was outrageous. The crazy thing’s 150 yards long. I’ve never seen anything like it. The only water near here is the river out east of town. Noah’s boat would reach across it – if he had had any way to move it over there.
Then, about a month ago, things got really strange. Animals started showing up. Noah said he was going to put animals on the ark, but I don’t think even he was ready for what happened. Every sort of critter anyone had ever seen or heard of – and a lot we’d never seen before. A couple of each of them, at least, started showing up at his place. Every day there would be something new. Sometimes they’d wander through town, sometimes they’d just be there in the morning. Noah’d get them loaded on the boat and keep working.
He’d come to town in the evenings and tell people the “time is near.” I heard him a couple times. He seemed nuttier than ever.
Then one day Noah and his family loaded up on the boat. There was a huge door in the side of the boat. The door closed by itself. It was kind of spooky. Then it started to rain. There was water everywhere. The ground opened up and water flowed out. It was just insane. By then there was no way in to Noah’s boat. The crazy old man went inside and shut the windows; the hull was slick and though people tried, there was no way in.
When I got home, there was already four or five inches of water in the shop. I gathered some tools and other supplies and headed for this high ground. People still didn’t seem to be taking it seriously so we were able to secure one of the tallest hills around, not far from town. We had to defend it a couple times when the last of the houses finally went under but no one is coming by now.
For the first few days we saw a lot of boats. There were a lot of little ones and a couple big ones that looked like they might have sailed down from the lake. Then on the eighth day after the rain started there was huge storm. We haven’t seen a boat on the water since – Noah had sailed out of sight on day six. There’s a lot of debris and bodies and junk floating by, but there doesn’t seem to be anything left alive. We’ve seen smoke coming from the high ground east of here, but not much else.
It’s been 12 days since the rain started. So we’ve got a routine and a secure place here. I’ve been measuring the water every day. At the rate the water’s rising we’ve got enough high ground to go another 12 days, maybe 15. I figure we ought to be all right. After all, how long can a storm last? Still, sometimes I wonder if maybe I shouldn’t have listened to the old man.
"Then the LORD came and stood and called as at other times, "Samuel! Samuel!" And Samuel said, "Speak, for Your servant is listening.""
-1 Samuel 3:10 (New American Standard)
Dear Lord we pray that we would have our ears open and we would listen to what you have to say to us. We thank you for the ways you talk to us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.