But the story does not end there. For there is the story to tell of what went happened in the ark during the extended time they were locked in it. There they were locked in this wooden boat for one year and eleven days. While the Scriptures do not speak of what happened in the boat, there was a story of humanity living in extremely close proximity with each other. There was a story of real human relationships happening on board that boat. Were there tensions? Were there arguments? Were they going stir crazy? Did they ever have real arguments? What were their living conditions like? Imagine what it was like being stuck on a boat three stories high. What were the practicalities of living on the ark? For it was full of animals both noisy and smelly. Animals that needed feeding, animals that needed their stalls mucked out, and even perhaps animals that both fell pregnant and gave birth to their young while on board. I have worked around animals for many years, mostly on dairy farms. And I can say they stink, though you do get used to the smell after a while. Think of the smell of the boat, the smell of the timber, the tar, the manure and the smell of each other. For one whole year the ark was their home, it was their prison and it was also their means of salvation and hope for the world.
It was here on the boat that Noah and his family learnt about Gods faithfulness. It was here that they learnt to relate to one another as family. And it was here that they learnt to worship God.
Every day for forty days as the rain came down they would have heard its noise against the roof of the boat. I wonder if they thanked God every day for the protection he gave them. Did they ever complain about the rain? Did they suffer grief for the loss of their family and community? Noahs brothers, his sisters, his wife’s family, the daughter in laws family, how were they coping with their emotions knowing that they would never see their loved ones again? Every day within the one hundred and fifty days that it took for the flood waters to recede, the ark was at the mercy of the winds and the waves. In all the pitching and rolling around, did they perhaps suffer from sea sickness? What was their health like? Were they eating properly?
There is a history of eight lives living together for a year and eleven days being told here, one that we can easily skip and miss out on for scripture only records the bare basics of the story. For it’s a story of humanity, it’s a story about real people, living in a real situation, in a new situation where the old has passed away and a new unknown future awaits them.