Tuesday, July 3, 2012

It's Too Late, Part 2

The mockers stand at the edge of the yard, shouting jeers at the village idiot.  They laugh deep, wicked laughs as they guzzle down their wine.  By this point, Noah and his family had no friends, no support left among the people.  At one point, there were those who defended them, mostly from a sense of loyalty, some out of pity for someone who had obviously lost his mind.  They all hoped it was just a phase that would pass.  As time wore on, however, it became obvious that Noah and his family had no intentions of giving up this idiocy.  Slowly, one by one, the defenders had drifted away, and now the only ones that paid any attention at all were the scoffers who made it a daily habit to ridicule the family. 
“Got all those measurements right, Noah?  Would hate to see your God strike you down.  After all, he’s apparently in the destruction business.” 
“Seen any of that water yet?  By the way, how do you expect the water to ‘flood’ as you say?  Is it just going to come walking out of the ocean?  How’s this happening, holy man?”
“So we’re not good enough, is that it?  Well, if this God of yours won’t let me have a good time, the hell with him, I say.  What a fool!  Spending a life pursuing a God that just wants to take all your fun away!”
One of the young boys waits for Ham to finish measuring a plank of wood.  Ham has worked on this plank three hours, honing exactly to God’s instructions.  It is perfect, a work of hard labor.  Ham finally finishes and puts it down with a tired smile, turning around to start on the next plank.  The boy, acting on a dare, runs into the yard and steals the plank, running back to the mockers and waving it around in victory.  The men all laugh and clap the young boy on the back as Ham whirls around, his face falling as he realizes his work is lost.  Now he must start all over.  He takes two steps towards the crowd, determined to finally teach these heretics a lesson.  Just then, he feels a firm hand on his arm.  He turns around and sees the sad but determined eyes of his father looking up at him. 
            “No, my son.  No revenge.  It’s not ours to take.”
            “But Father!  For decades they have gathered to mock us!  When will we be avenged?”
“Vengeance belongs to the Lord, my son.  You must have patience.”
“I’m so tired of this, Father.  When will the Lord come?  When will He come and make things right, as you have said He would?”
“When the time is right, Ham.  When the time is right.  Give your anger to the Lord.  He will take it from you.  Trust Him.”
“I’m so tired, Father.  I’m so tired of working here, day and night.  I’m so tired being mocked every day.  I hate going into the village any more – mothers draw their children away from me, and people part in the street so as not to come near me.  And the yelling!  People yelling insults as I pass!  Why must we put up with all this?”       
“Because we choose to serve the Lord most High, and they do not.  Wait on the Lord.  He will do as He says, and then it will be up to us to start over for mankind.”
Shem walks over as this conversation is going on to join in. “I, too, am tired, Ham.  We all are.  Some days it is hard to make myself come to the yard.  Sometimes it is hard to look my wife in the face, knowing what all this is putting her through.  But in the end, God will make it all right.  I just keep clinging to that.  I have nothing else to cling to at this point.  Whether I live to see it or not, God will make it all right.  Have faith, brother.”
Ham sighs in resignation.  “I know, I know.  It’s just so hard.”
Noah smiles and says, “We, mankind, have made it hard.  It did not start out that way.  Remember the stories of your ancestors.  They are true.  God loves us, and it is not Him that makes it hard.  Now He has provided a way of redemption, a way to start over.  When the time comes, He will show His love and mercy to us in fantastic ways.  Did He not remove us from the garden so we would not eat of the Tree of Life and live forever in our sin?  Has He not provided us with the means to work the land and feed ourselves?  He has always provided for us, and He always will.  The Lord keeps His word.  Have faith, my son.”
Japheth comes walking up and says, “If we’re going to get that side finished today, we need to get moving.  Ham, I’ll help you redo that plank.  We’ll have it done in no time.  Don’t worry.”
The four men, tied together by a legacy of faith, turn back to their work, turning their backs on the jeers roaring out from behind them. 

            Vandalism had been a problem over the past century.  Many times Noah and his sons had come to work in the early hours only to find that they had to repair massive damage from the previous night.  The village men seemed to find joy in being destructive.  Then again, these were violent times.  Vandalism, violence, murder – all these and more were part of daily life now.  You couldn’t walk down the street without fear of being accosted.  It got worse as the day went on and the drunkenness ran deeper.  Men – and not just a few women – started drinking when the sun was high and didn’t stop until they passed out deep into the night.  The result was all sorts of violence and evil.  
     Violence ran deep even in those who did not drink too much.  Overall, mankind had become a volatile, murderous race.  And the murderous attitude of the people found the perfect target in the local crazy family, Noah and his sons.  As the righteous ones pursued God’s directions, they were often subject to attacks and beatings.  About 20 years into the project, Japheth didn’t come back from what was supposed to be a short errand into the village for supplies.  His father and brothers had eventually found him abandoned on the outskirts of town, beaten almost to death.  It was three months before Japheth was able to rejoin the project, and the loss of manpower created an even bigger delay.  From then on, none of the four men went anywhere alone, and their wives were no longer allowed to go anywhere without male protection.  Rape had also become rampant, and Noah’s family knew it was only by the grace and protection of the Lord that their women had been spared this horror. 

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