My wife Donna Little Carroll and I have been talking about all the "talk" about the Noah Movie. Interestingly enough, back in the fall the Lord really put the story of Noah in my Spirit. I was honestly struggling with this faith walk we have been on. Let me tell you why...
First of all, I haven't really known what I was doing most of the time. When we walked away from the jobs to begin this journey, there were a lot of things happening in our lives. Our oldest son was starting his senior year in high school. I was facing some difficult consequences from some poor decisions I had made, and we were up to our necks with life and a family of 6 people. Quite frankly, October 1, 2010 was on of the scariest days of my life. But Donna and I KNEW it was what God had called us to do. We had no idea what it looked like, where we were going, how we were going to get there, how we were going to make it, and couldn't even describe the vision completely. I tried. If you know me at all, you know that justifying myself and trying to make sure I "look OK" has always been a struggle. I believe a counselor once told me I was a "FLAMING CODEPENDENT," so what others thought about me tended to matter a bit. Well, on October 1st a sanctifying event began and the Lord began to graciously, and painfully reach deep into my soul to pull the root of that issue from my life.
This journey has been nothing short of extraordinary. Let me break that word down for you, Extraordinary- "unusually excellent or strange: very unusual and deserving attention and comment because of being wonderful, excellent, strange, or shocking." That by definition is what that word means, and it describes what we have experienced perfectly. It has been wonderful, excellent, strange, and shocking. As a family we have driven over 100,000 miles. We have spoken, led worship, & served in churches of just 15 and some with hundreds! We have never set a fee. We have actually left Forney, TX, driven to Florida, South Texas, Tennessee, and all places in between and didn't know even how much we were going to get paid, where we were going to stay exactly, and with just enough gas and money to get there. We just went! Why? Because it was what God asked us to do. It's been crazy, unpredictable, and honestly unexplainable.
I most humbly bring all that up to drive home a very important spiritual life lesson. I've panicked at times. I've made many mistakes along the way. I am learning that's how the sanctification process works. As my flesh and will have fought to control, justify, rationalize, and fix things, the Spirit was desiring to purge, cleanse, and teach me total dependence on the Father. Let me share something I'm learning: we naturally don't like "total dependence on the Father." That only happens supernaturally. There is a fine line between being "responsible" and being "faithful."
So, that leads me to Noah. This past year, I was struggling with questions. Questions others were asking. Questions I was asking myself. How we were gonna make it? What should we do next? What were our goals? Even though I had seen God literally do miracles. I was still struggling. Then in the midst of my struggle, the Spirit of God into led me to the story of Noah. I turned to Genesis and began to study. I read the genealogy and realized that Noah most likely sat at the feet of Adam. He heard the story of the Garden. He knew what God intended for things to be like. Adam had told his children and grandchildren about the promise of redemption. I realized that must have been why Genesis 5:29 said, "Lamech named his son Noah, for he said, “May he bring us relief from our work and the painful labor of farming this ground that the Lord has cursed.” They were looking for salvation as God had promised.
I studied that crazy awesome verse in Genesis 6:4 where it talks about "the sons of God and the daughters of men & the famous warriors and heroes of ancient times." I wrestled with what that meant and didn't allow myself to fall into the "we know everything camp" about scripture. I read, and studied, and prayed, and then I sensed the Lord simply say, "Look at Noah. Look at what I asked him to do. I told him to build an ark. I told him to do something that had never been done. I told him to do something that EVERYONE thought was crazy. No security. A total waste of time and resources to everyone around him. It seemed irresponsible, stupid, and completely asinine to his family, friends, and the community. But Noah obeyed. Now Steven, keep building your Ark with your family. Trust me."
Then I heard about the Noah movie. I was excited! I was elated! I couldn't wait for it to come out. I watched the previews. Even as I write this I get excited. I sensed confirmation from the Spirit. Then this week, Donna started reading the controversy. She shared with me about the slams against it. The "christian" community rising up against it. Boycotts. Negativity. Blah, Blah, Blah. Quite honestly it was disturbing. We felt indignant. We felt sad. It seemed wrong.
It's a movie. Millions upon millions of people will see this amazing story put on a Big Screen. They'll see things that will cause questions. Believers will see liberties taken that cause them to feel a little uncomfortable, but at the end of the day can we not all be inspired, challenged, and encouraged to "build an ark." We don't know what happened in those years while Noah was building the Ark. We don't know how it ALL went down. We really don't know much of the details at all. What we do know is that an imperfect man, with quite a few issues in his life and family (read Genesis 9), built a HUGE boat, saved his family, obeyed what God told him to do, and began a new lineage that led to a man named Abraham and ultimately to the Savior of the World.
Funny isn't it, that NOBODY else was on the boat. Too much critiquing & not enough trusting that God had a bigger plan. If His Word NEVER comes back void, and I believe that it doesn't, then I believe God will ultimately be glorified. He doesn't need me to out starting or championing a movement against a movie about one of the most amazing stories in His Word. He needs my butt in the seat, with a bucket of buttered popcorn and a coke zero, soaking in the mystery and majesty of His sovereignty and power! He asked me and my family to build our Ark, and that involves moving into the culture and not away from it.
So I think the only lingering question now is "What's your ark that requires an extraordinary work in your life".