Commentary on the Gospel of
“He waited still another seven days and then released the dove once more; and this time it did not come back.” Genesis
Picture life on Noah’s ark (assuming it was real rather than symbolic). Imagine a dozen people cooped up with hordes of animals for weeks on end.
Think of the noise, the stench, crying children and squalling adults. Think of wondering when it would end and the fear of what would happen next.
Imagining life on the ark gave me a different perspective on the ending of today’s reading from Genesis. It focuses on that dread word “waiting.” Noah tested then waited a couple of times until finally, “he waited still another seven days and then released the dove once more; and this time it did not come back.”
If there’s a harder virtue for someone who starts the day with a “to do” list (even in retirement!) I can’t think of what it is. Most of us can’t even wait for someone at a coffee shop for five minutes without pulling out our phones.
God had a plan for Noah and Noah was seemingly willing to patiently wait for it to unfold. Unlike “patient” Job, he didn’t swear at God or question what the plan was. He just tested and waited until he found out. Then he built an altar to God.
There’s a message for all of us impatient, driven people. When we have problems, especially those involving other people that we are helpless to solve, we need to turn things over to God and wait for his plan to be revealed.
We can call for help and suggest how God respond – promptly—but God may have different ideas. Maybe what we learn from our trials will make us better people. A very perceptive psychologist once wrote that no one wants to suffer but it can break us open and make us wiser and more compassionate. Tough as it can be, we just have to trust God’s infinite wisdom, love and mercy.
Like Noah in today’s reading, we have to learn to live through our trials at God’s pace, not ours. Patience!