The Story of the Flood
Depicted as told by Noah himself
I’m sure a lot of people have great survival stories. Stories that tell of a heroic rescue or an apparent death. Well, not to brag, but I have one of those that is sure to blow any of those stories away. Mine is a story too incredible to be fiction. It’s stunning enough to be told in every generation and countless cultures (in their adapted forms) since then.
I had always had this feeling of a closeness with God. I thanked him every day and tried to live my life to reflect that gratitude. Why other people did not seem to care about God, I do not know. I think pride can grow with age. With most people living for what now looks like a really long time, people sure can get nasty.
So I would try to keep to myself- and my family. You don’ know what a supportive wife looks like until you see what I put my wife through. Three of my sons in particular were very helpful in supporting me also. I had them in my older years- which you will see later was a good thing.
Anyway, now to the dramatic. I was staring up at the sky one evening; the colors were awesome, and the weather was perfect (as it always was). All of a sudden God came to me and overwhelmed me. He talked to me as clear as anyone has ever talked to me. He said “Noah, it’s a good thing I caused you to be a skilled craftsman, because I want you to build a boat- well, a ship”. I said, “OK… huh, why?”.
God began to tell me about how it upset Him that people were being so arrogant and nasty. They have no idea how much it really hurts God to be like they are. I said, “There must be something you can do to turn their hearts and attitudes back to You.” He said, “Their wickedness is beyond repair, but you and your family would be spared.”
As I was gazing up at the immense mist that hovered above the earth, God began to show me how that was going to break open. “That water is going to fall to the earth. Only the people and animals on your boat are going to survive.” “Wait,” I responded. “All those people are going to die in this flood? Isn’t that a little extreme? There’s got to be millions of people, billions for all I know.” Then God said, “Noah, I am the creator of their lives in the first place. I have all rights to do what I please with them. It’s not because I hate humanity. It’s because I love it, and don’t want to see it in this condition any more.”
He had a really good point. He always does. Over the next few weeks, I would talk to God in that same spot. He would reveal to me more and more of the details about the ship I would be building. I was in a hurry at first, knowing it would be a long project, but He assured me that I would definitely have time to finish it before the rain came. So I began gathering gopher wood- a nice sturdy wood. My sons were surprisingly willing to help. It was going to take a long time, especially since we had jobs we had to tend to on the side as well.
I began collecting animals when I was out cutting wood. They seemed drawn to me. I had to collect 2 of each type of animal that could breed with its kind. Many other animals, the edible ones, which were considered “clean”, we got 7 of each. One of my sons was assigned to making all the cages for the animals. We began to get very knowledgable about the animals. We studied carefully how much they ate and what they liked to eat. So we began collecting those foods too.
This all ended up being a hundred year project- crazy! But you ought to see the muscles we got from all that heavy lifting. In the meantime, people came from around the area to look at “Noah and his crazy family”. I just had to respond with a humble but stern warning: “God is going to judge this wicked generation!” But, since they were already incurably wicked, the warnings were not heeded.
When the ship was nearing its completion, I wasn’t sure that it would be big enough for everything that had to go in there. It was about 500 feet long, a little less than a hundred feet wide, and a good 50 feet tall. It wasn’t that it was small by any stretch of the imagination; it’s just that so much had to go in there. It had three stories on the inside too, so that helped. The ship turned out to be the perfect size.
God told me it was time to load everything on the ship. People continued to mock us, even though they were shocked at how well the animals listened to us (survival “instinct”?). The people didn’t know what I was talking about when I warned them of downpours of rain. I pointed to the water in the sky like a canopy, but they always said “That’s been there forever; it will never change”. Oh, well, their mocking didn’t matter; I knew I was doing what God had wanted me to do. More than that, I couldn’t not do it.
When it was confirmed that everything was loaded, we pulled and sealed the massive door shut. The anticipation was nerve-racking. Soon the noise of the animals became obnoxious and deafening, but later we’d learn to take joy in it. We waited in anticipation for the rains and flood waters. After about a week, all our hard work was confirmed as paid off. Torrents of massive raindrops blasted the top of the boat, drowning out the noise of animals. The people that were once making fun of us for building the boat were now begging us to let them on.
This violent monsoon did not stop for 40 days. But it wasn’t just those waters above us that caused the flooding. It was fairly well known that there was water underneath the surface of the earth too. When these broke open huge waves came and swept people away. It was probably the most difficult thing I can imagine watching. At the same time there was a real joy and privilege in being called to something so earth-shaking (literally) for God.
The water rose and rose. It was hard to believe there was that much water on the planet. It finally peaked out after about 5 months. Everything had been covered. The mountains were just part of the vast ocean. The tides would go up and down, but we couldn’t tell after a while. Sometimes they would expose part of a mountaintop for part of a day, then it would covered by the high tide again. It must have been over 20 feet deeper than any mountain.
We were in that boat for a long time. The first week was definitely the longest, then we kind of got used to things. We got in a good routine of feeding the baby animals. We didn’t look at the vast ocean every hour like we used to. We were getting cooped up and it was boring. The animals were getting agitated too. Another week would go by with no sign of land, then another. We had no idea how long we would be in there for.
Then one day, as we were all sleeping, the bottom of the ship brushed against some land. We woke up in excitement, finally seeing hope that we could be getting out of the stench infested boat soon. Then the tide would come and lift us back up off it. “If there is land right down there, then there is probably some exposed land somewhere else out there” I thought.
I sent some birds out to be my investigators. I sent them out in hopes that they would not return. If they returned, that meant that they could not find any land that was sprouting any plants. The first one was gone for a while, so we thought that it probably had settled on some land. My heart sunk when I noticed it flying back into the ship. “Sorry guys. It looks like we’ll be stuck in this global ocean for quite a while longer.”
After 3 weeks of this method of sending birds out, we found what we were looking for. Land was exposed enough to begin drying up, so I thought the birds stay out there if they found nourishment. At first the dove brought back a piece of an olive branch! It was awesome to see that plants were able to grow again. The next time the bird left it stayed out there. Somewhere out there the land was producing vegetation again. It was a welcome sign to us who were anxious for some variety in our diet.
By the time we had spent ten months on our giant boat, it was stuck on a muddy mountain near the peak of Mount Ararat. We had been anxiously watching the waters recede for about 5 months. Now that we were banked on land, there really was no point in getting out. The ground was just a muddy mess with no vegetation for us to get off it. Besides that, we wanted to be absolutely sure that the waters weren’t going to come back up and sweep us away. So we continued tending to our daily duties just the same.
Two months later I gave my family the OK to leave the boat. It was a celebration of sorts. The first thing we did was thank God and worship Him for counting me worthy to carry on human survival. Then we put up an alter to commemorate the incredible occasion.
Our legs felt like rubber on the ground. It was so strange to not be rocking any more. The animals were excited to run around again. Some of them were pregnant already and began looking for places to start their family. While they explored the outer reaches, we stayed right near the ship for a while. It was still good shelter and still producing some food for us.
For the next couple years we watched the water continue to go down until it was out of sight completely. We also watched the moist and flexible ground shift and contort. Every few months the landscape would change to a scene completely unrecognizable from before. Though lonely and desolate, it was exciting to see everything changing again for the first time. It was thrilling to see new animals being born knowing that I helped save their lives and take care of them. My sons also began to “multiply and replenish the earth”. And here I was, now over 600 years old, and feeling like I had just been born again.
I can’t help but laugh when I look to earth 4,000 to 5,000 years later. My survival story is still told in many different places in many different ways. I especially get a kick out of the little pictures in the classrooms at church. I listen in on how they tell this horror story to the little kids. They paint a smile on my face and the face of all the animals. Don’t get me wrong, there was a lot of joy wrapped up in the whole event. What they don’t understand anymore is how draining and stressful and scary and heart-breaking the whole event was. I don’t know how many times I wanted to kill one of the animals because it would keep me up all hours of the night- or just for some good meat.
If it weren’t for the presence of God being with us on that stinky ship, we all would have gone too crazy to carry on the human population. The magnitude of my/ our calling was too great to lose sight of. Knowing that God would be glorified for generations to come kept us moving forward. And now the fruit of that endeavor has paid off thousands of years later through billions of people and countless animals worldwide. Many of these people hear the story of “Noah’s ark” all the time. Many millions of them have been rescued by the true and eternal safe vessel for our souls.