The rush is on. Get the turkey stuffed and in the oven. Finalize the cleaning – the kind that takes place only when friends or relatives visit. Make that last minute trip to the store, get to church, and pick up grandma. Lots to do. Gotta get to it.
And Thanksgiving happened. Then there was the task of cleaning up. Today, Black Friday, you might be reading this meditation on your phone while waiting in line at Best Buy at 5:30 a.m. Purchase Christmas presents. Find the best deals. Get home and decorate the house. Start baking.
Whoa, partner. Just a minute now. Slow down your thanksgiving.
After the flood Noah paused and “built an altar to the Lord and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it” (Genesis 8:20). He gave thanks to the Lord for delivering him and his family, and the many animals, from the flood’s violent destruction. He wasn’t in a hurry to run around on dry ground or roll in solid dirt like a maniac. He didn’t call the animals together for a debriefing session or roll out plans to immediately build a big house. He slowed down and gave thanks.
Noah’s behavior at that moment built upon a patient, trusting faith that he displayed already on the ark.
Water had covered the earth for 150 days. That’s 5 months of bad weather! And then it took another 3 months for the murky floodwaters to recede enough that the mountain tops were visible. Noah patiently, trustingly waited for God’s instructions. 40 days later Noah opened a window in the ark and sent out a raven, and then a dove which returned to him indicating there was no dry ground. He waited 7 days and sent out the dove again, which returned with a freshly plucked leaf. He waited 7 more days and sent out the dove again, and this time it didn’t return. So Noah removed the covering of the ark to take in the sight of dry ground all around. Then he waited almost another 2 months! Finally, “God said to Noah, ‘Come out of the ark’” (Genesis 8:15).
Noah was so thankful while waiting for the floodwaters to recede that he honored God with patient obedience. He would do nothing without God’s command, even if it seemed the right thing to do. God delivered him, after all, and God had every right to be trusted. So Noah thanked him. By patient waiting. By slowing down.
All total, Noah occupied the ark for a year and ten days (during which time it had rained constantly for 40 days). Thankful for God’s warning of the oncoming flood. Thankful for his family being with him. Thankful for a safe vessel to carry him and his loved ones and the animals over the fatal floodwaters. Thankful for God’s timing, whatever that might be.
Take time to consider God’s ways and thank him by patiently trusting that he may do his divine work over a longer period of time than your time-conscious schedule might prefer. Slow down your thanksgiving.
PRAYER: Slow me down, Lord. Let me see my thanks not always as a reaction to a blessing. But instead, help thankfulness kindle constantly in my soul. Amen.
FURTHER MEDITATION: Spend time in prayer using the PRAY acronym.
- Praise (tell God what you appreciate about him)
- Repent (tell God about your sins, trust in his promises of forgiveness)
- Ask (go ahead, think big, or focus on a small detail, God wants to hear it all)
- Yield (talk to God about the next step after you say “Amen,” how you want faith to lead the way, how you are willing to be part of his answer and see it develop for your good)