Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God. . . Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence. Genesis 6:9-11
Most people who know me, know that I’m quite vocal about my addiction and faith. If my name ever came up in conversation anywhere near where I live, this would probably be mentioned. Isn’t he that doctor who was addicted, lost his job, and then wrote a book about it? I’m not lamenting this fact. I’m purposefully vocal about my struggle and my faith. I feel that this is the job that God has given me. Occasionally though, this makes me stand out in a way that can be uncomfortable.
When I took a new job a couple years ago, taking me to an out-of-town office two days a week, I briefly had the thought that it would be nice just to be one of the normals. Everyone likes to fit in, right? I was tempted to keep my story to myself. That only lasted a few minutes though, as I quickly remembered who I am. I can’t be someone else, and I simply can’t worry about what anyone thinks. I’m doing what God wants me to do and that is enough. I don’t require fitting in to feel OK about myself.
I’m not comparing myself to Noah, but I imagine he must have had similar thoughts. In today’s passage, we’re told how Noah was the only man on Earth who followed God. This must have been lonely. While everyone else did what they wanted, Noah’s faith must have made him stand out. As if this wasn’t enough, God asked Noah to build an Ark, a colossal structure that took decades to construct. Noah, and his stupid ark, must have been the subject of intense ridicule. Literally everyone thought Noah was a nut. Maybe Noah was indifferent to this, but I bet he wrestled with not fitting in. At some point, he had to feel alone, thinking about how nice it would to be normal. I imagine he also had to decide – maybe repeatedly – that he followed God and that had to be enough.
We may not face persecution for our faith, but there will always be those who look down on us for it. There will be times when we just want to fit in. Daily though, we must decide what we live for – what gives us meaning. Is it the approval of the crowd? When we feel alone, and that our faith makes us stand out uncomfortably, we must recognize that we’re not alone when we’re following the will of the only one who truly matters. When we seek God, he is with us, and that is always enough.