As the current NFL season progresses from week to week I must admit: I’m missing Tim Tebow. Yes, I know that’s a typical response from an evangelical Christian. I guess I’m predictable…guilty as charged.

The general consensus for Tebow seems to be, “If he would just give up the dream of quarterback, he might have a long successful career.

Tebow appears undeterred in his goals. He wants to be an NFL quarterback or nothing. I’m now hearing Christians, who previously supported him carte blanche, now questioning if his goals are too extreme. Is it all that bad to be a famous and wealthy NFL tight end?

As I took a sip of my coffee and pondered Tebow’s decision (since he asked for my input [insert sarcasm]) my mind naturally went to Louis the IX during the 13th century Crusades. Weird, I know. Welcome to my strange head.

Louis was convinced it was his God-ordained duty in life to liberate Jerusalem. His life seemed to be custom-made to be “the guy” who would be used by God in such a powerful way. Louis, unfortunately, caught the plague and laid dying short of his goal.

Louis was a broken man lying there on his death bed. All his hopes and ideas of God working so powerfully were now ending. Had God really been there? He started wondering, “Was God ever with me?” The dying words of a heartbroken Louis IX were “Oh Jerusalem, Oh Jerusalem.” He died with his unfulfilled dream dying with him. A Jesus-loving man died disillusioned.

What does this have to do with Tim Tebow? Well, it makes me wonder whether God can truly give someone a unique dream and then for that dream to never materialize? Maybe God gave Tim Tebow the resolute dream to be an NFL quarterback. Maybe Tebow will shock the world one day by being a Super Bowl MVP quarterback. Maybe.

What if, however, Tebow never plays another minute in the NFL? Was God really a part of Tebow’s story? Did God make his dream so resolute? Maybe Tebow needs to bring it down a notch? How do we know?

Let’s continue walking down this road by moving to a hypothetical situation. What if Noah never saw it rain? What if Noah spent decades building this tremendous boat and then the rain never came? Silence. Prayers followed for rain to come so the boat would float. Confusion followed. Noah had spent his life savings on the ark. Now what?

Noah is excited God has relented from flooding the earth, but now he has a lot of explaining to do. Noah’s savings account is empty. All his time and money were poured into the ark. The flood never came, now the bills are piling up on the kitchen counter.

Noah’s family starts to doubt whether he really heard from God. Noah’s friends wonder if he’s mentally unstable. Noah’s mother-in-law spouts off one night making it clear her daughter would have been better off marrying that other guy. All the while the ark is sitting outside, built well, with no rain in the forecast.

Maybe Noah should start dismantling the ark? Perhaps all that salvaged wood can now be used to enter into the residential home construction business. What should Noah do?

I’ve come across many people in life who feel like they’ve built a God-sized ark and the rain never came. Feelings of disillusionment and embarrassment can sink all the way down to the bone.

A close friend of mine gave his most prime/passionate years to youth ministry. He lived white-hot for Jesus. After 5 years his church dropped him like a bad habit. In his own words I’ve heard him say, “Tim, I gave God my all and he said…thanks but no thanks. You’re fired!” It’s hard to recover from a situation where you build something for God and the rain never falls.

What do you do?

If you’re a friend of Noah:

  • Don’t be like Job’s friends. You don’t have enough information to know what God has or hasn’t allowed. Maybe God has told Tim Tebow to only be an NFL Quarterback. Maybe God is completely behind every detail. Even the failures. Maybe God told your friend Noah to build the ark and then God decided for some reason against sending the rain. Don’t be the fool attempting to share the mind of God with your friend. You’re out of your league.
  • Be in your friend’s corner. Tell them, “Hey Noah, I’m sorry about all this. I’m praying for you. Is there anything I can do to help? I love you.
  • If you judge God’s presence and activity on the basis of your friend’s success then you believe in the Prosperity Gospel. Instead, you need to encourage your friend in the real Gospel. The most sure way we know God loves us is Jesus. That’s it.

If you’re Noah without Seeing Rain:

  • My guess is many people get to heaven and may have a conversation like this: God says, “You know that boat I asked you to build and it never rained?” “Yeah, how could I ever forget“, the person responds kicking a rock on the ground. Then God says, “I loved that boat. You really killed it, it was great. It meant a lot to me when you got knocked down and you let me help you back up. Everybody gave you such a hard time about that ark…but I loved it! It was exactly as I envisioned when I first asked you to build it.
  • Don’t forget God distinctly promised a whole bunch of godly people some really great things and they died without ever seeing God make good on the promise. (see Hebrews 11) God considered them heroes even though they looked like losers.

Should Tebow switch positions? If he actually asked for my feedback I’d say, “I don’t know.” I don’t really care. It’s far more important for all of us that we just live each day for Jesus. That’s the eternally important stuff.

Let success come and go. Let failure come and go. Who cares.

Let Jesus come, however, and don’t ever let go.

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    8 replies to "What If Noah Never Saw It Rain?"

    • Les

      I’d point out that we can all agree that God told Noah to build the boat. That’s a detail that sets that story apart from somebody just wanting to do something really bad.

      We’d almost have to get entrenched in the age old cessation/continuation arguments regarding prophecy and the sufficiency of scripture in order to be able to pull these stories together.

      We can agree I think that God has called Tebow and all Christians to live out our lives through a gospel filter. And whether or not we have a large platform such as being QB of an NFL team to do that from is not an issue.

      Les

    • Scott Youngman

      J.R.R. Tolkien’s short story “Leaf By Niggle” is appropriate here; Niggle didn’t see the point of his unfulfilled ambition until he got to heaven. http://www.ae-lib.org.ua/texts-c/tolkien__leaf_by_niggle__en.htm

    • James

      I’m sorry, I hate doing this, but I know others are thinking it…”arK”.

      🙂

      Good article. I think what we often struggle with as Christians is discerning when we have a passion/dream/vision that is genuinely a God-given passion or just something we are passionate about. I won’t say which it is for Tebow, I don’t know him or God’s designs for his life. I do know there are many who try to spiritualize their dreams into something God-inspired, when they are really just very earth-bound desires.

    • a.

      “Let Jesus come, however, and don’t ever let go.” !!!

      for now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.
      Oh, for the day… behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them; I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple;
      Until then… do for yourself what the occasion requires, for God is with you; O LORD, my heart is not proud, nor my eyes haughty; nor do I involve myself in great matters, or in things too difficult for me. O Israel, hope in the LORD from this time forth and forever. Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD And whose trust is the LORD. For he will be like a tree planted by the water, that extends its roots by a stream and will not fear when the heat comes; but its leaves will be green, and it will not be anxious in a year of drought nor cease to yield fruit. Rev 21:3b, 22:22;1 Cor 13:12; 1 Sam 10 7b; Ps131:1,3; Prov 3:5-6; Jer 17: 7-8

    • minimus

      Interesting.

      So you believe (at least in theory for this article) that God still speaks to people today?

      I’d say, “Noah, time to hear from God on what to do NOW!” Read Matthew 7:24-27

    • Lothars Sohn

      Are you viewing this tale as symbolic?

      Or do you believe that a worldwide flood as described in Genesis is compatible with the countless results brought about by geology and biology?

      Friendly greetings from Europe.
      Lothars Sohn – Lothar’s son
      http://lotharlorraine.wordpress.com

    • Truth Unites... and Divides

      I’ll never forget that 80-yard touchdown pass to DeMaryius Thomas to win that playoff game against Pittsburgh in overtime. That whole season was magical for Tim Tebow.

      God bless Tim Tebow and his courage and grace under nay-saying adversity.

      And God bless Jeremy Lin too!

    • Aaron M. Renn

      I think this is pretty clear. God gave Noah specific instructions and promised a specific outcome. This makes it different from both Tebow and your youth minister friend, who don’t seem to have been promised specific outcomes by God. (I’m not sure what Louis IX thought God had promised him).

      The Bible specifically addresses this point in multiple instances. First, God’s judgement on the earth was likely recovable in the case of repentance. We see this in Ninevah, where Jonah is supremely annoyed God forgave them. Presumably something like that could have happened with Noah and he may have been equally or even more perturbed about it.

      But there are also examples of God’s specific promises not coming true (initially). Think of Joshua at the first battle of Ai, for example. But the best is when the Israelites believe Moses and the miracles he performs to trust God promised to deliver them. They were slaves who put their head on the chopping block in faith. And Pharaoh cut it off. In Exodus 6:9 we see that unsurprisingly they refuse the believe the second time around. (God did tell Moses that Pharaoh would only let them go under compulsion, but it’s not clear that he informed the Israelites of that. And Moses own reaction to initial defeat suggests he didn’t remember it either). Interestingly, God does not get mad at the Israelites for their refusing to believe the second time around.

      I think scripture is clear: when God’s word appears to objectively fail, it’s fatal to actionable faith until God intervenes. It requires sovereign grace to fix. (Though a different situation, I think that’s also why God didn’t restore Job until after He appeared first – if He’d just given Job his stuff back, there would always have been a crack in the foundations of Job’s faith).

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