– Philip Yancey
Only God can see what is invisible to us. God knew that a great flood was coming and this gave Noah plenty of time to preach about the coming wrath of God upon all who refuse to repent and believe. Noah was a righteous man and did what was pleasing in God’s sight, so God spared Noah and his family, and Noah had faith enough to spend nearly 100 years building a great ark, and he did so, never having seen a flood before. This shows that Noah believed the Lord. The Bible says that Noah was a preacher of faith, however perhaps it was only after the flood that Noah fully understood what God had did and why.
Since God knows the end from the beginning, He warned Noah of the flood to come, so how does Noah react? “Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith” (Heb 11:7), so Noah exhibited faith in God, which meant he trusted God in advance, and thought, “It will only make sense later, in reverse. That’s okay. I trust God.”
Noah had never seen a flood before because it is believed that the earth had been watered from below, but something drastic was about to happen. At the time, it seems unlikely that Noah had ever seen a deluge of rain before. It didn’t matter. Noah believed God, just as Abraham did, and so he built an ark, and it was accounted to Noah as righteousness because Noah, like Abraham, believed God (Rom 4:3; Gal 3:6). Abraham “was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going” (Heb 11:8), so he must have trusted the God Who had been there before since the Lord Himself inhabits eternity.
I think one of the first things we’ll say in heaven, besides rejoicing in the presence of the Lord and falling at His feet is, “Ah, I get it now!” That’s when much of the things we didn’t understand in this life will all fit into place. At times our life can look a little like a jig saw puzzle, but it will all fit together when we finally see things in reverse. By then, it won’t matter. I like what Paul wrote: “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Rom 8:18). Only then will these sufferings will make sense to us.
I loved Philip Yancey’s statement, “Faith means trusting in advance what will only make sense in reverse,” because we have not seen what God has seen; we have not known the end from the beginning; we have not received our inheritance yet, though we still believe God; and on that day of His return, that’s when we will look back in reverse and see that God had all things working together for our good for those of us who love Him (Rom 8:28).