NOAH AND THE FLOOD: A LESSON IN PATIENCE

I learnt a sobering lesson about patience recently as I read the account of Noah and the flood in the biblical book of Genesis. We know the summary of the story: The world was steeped in sin but Noah was righteous. When God couldn’t take humanity’s evil anymore, He asked Noah to build an ark in which his family and several pairs of all kinds of animals could be saved. On the appointed day, they entered the ark and God unleashed an unprecedented flood that wiped out all living things. Then Noah and his company came out of the ark, which had floated on the waters till the earth was dry, to multiply and replenish the living species on earth.

Neat story, right? Awesome! Except that as I read the details, I wondered how Noah and his group ‘endured’ the experience. Yes, ‘endured’! Their lives were being saved quite alright but if they were anything like me, it wouldn’t have been easy for them. As I reflected on this, I was reminded once again that anyone who wants to walk with God must learn to wait, to be calm and give God time to do what He intends to do. But frankly, sometimes, waiting seems to be the hardest thing to do!

Let’s go through the story again bit by bit and you’ll see what I’m talking about. You’ll see how the patience of Noah and his family could nave been stretched as God delivered them.

The actual rains and water from beneath the earth popping up lasted just forty days. (I say ‘just’ in relation to the time that elapsed before Noah and the rest were able to set foot outside the ark.) The deluge began on the seventeenth day of the second month of Noah’s six hundredth year. By then, Noah and his family had already spent seven days in the ark.

“7. And Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons’ wives with him, into the ark, because of the waters of the flood. 8. Of clean beasts, and of beasts that are not clean, and of fowls, and of every thing that creepeth upon the earth, 9. There went in two and two unto Noah into the ark, the male and the female, as God had commanded Noah. 10. And it came to pass after seven days, that the waters of the flood were upon the earth. 11. In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. 12. And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights. – Genesis 7:7-12 (emphasis, mine)

The flood precipitated by the deluge would naturally take much longer to dry because the account says that the mountains were submerged by over twenty feet of water. We were first told in chapter 7, verse 24 that the floods surged for a hundred and fifty days (about five months). Now I don’t believe that Noah and his family were anything but grateful while the downpour occurred. Every other living thing had died but they were safe in the ark buoyed up by the waters. They must have thanked God endlessly and might have continued in the first month after the rains stopped. But as days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months, I wonder if they had got restless. I would have. Yet, even after the five months, they still didn’t have permission to leave the ark. Why?

Although the ark had rested on Mt. Ararat in the seventh month, it wasn’t until the tenth month that the tops of the mountains could be seen. (Remember they were more than twenty feet below water.)

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“3. And the waters returned from off the earth continually: and after the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters were abated. 4. And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat. 5. And the waters decreased continually until the tenth month: in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, were the tops of the mountains seen.” – Genesis 8:3-5 (emphasis, mine)

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The flood was still drying up and had a long way to go. They weren’t going to live at the mountaintop. The rest of the earth needed to dry too. This was a natural process and it seemed to be taking forever. I wonder if they asked God to speed things up at some point. I know I would have. They waited another forty days and Noah opened a window for a peep. He sent out a raven and a dove to see how things were. The dove came back because the earth wasn’t quite dry.

“8. Also he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters were abated from off the face of the ground; 9. But the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot, and she returned unto him into the ark, for the waters were on the face of the whole earth: then he put forth his hand, and took her, and pulled her in unto him into the ark.” – Genesis 8:8-9

After seven days, Noah sent the dove out again and what a celebration he and his company must have had when it returned.

“10. And he stayed yet other seven days; and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark; 11. And the dove came in to him in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf pluckt off: so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth.” – Genesis 8:10-11

Perhaps, Noah picked up his wife and spun her around. “Voila, honey, a leaf! The water is all gone!”

But the wait wasn’t quite over yet. Now a flood that massive would have turned the ground to mush. It wouldn’t make sense to come out and break their limbs or catch an infection after waiting so long.

“Let’s give it another week,” he must have said to the rest of the family, who had gathered round.

I wonder if they groaned. That’s the thing about waiting. You can be serene and take it all with equanimity until it’s approaching time for the wait to end, then you just can’t take it anymore. Perhaps, they suggested they’d prefer to take their chances outside than remaining cooped up in the ark for one moment longer. This reminds me of the folk tale about the tortoise in a pit. All the time he was there, no one heard from him. But on the day he was to be pulled out, he urged those to do the job to hurry up because he couldn’t stand the stink down there any longer.

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Anyway, seven days later, Noah sent out the dove for the third time but it didn’t return (v. 12), probably because it could fend for itself. You would think that everyone will be filing out from the ark at this point. But, no!

“13. And it came to pass in the six hundredth and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried up from off the earth: and Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and, behold, the face of the ground was dry. 14. And in the second month, on the seven and twentieth day of the month, was the earth dried. 15. And God spake unto Noah, saying, 16. Go forth of the ark, thou, and thy wife, and thy sons, and thy sons’ wives with thee.” – Genesis 8:13-16

From the time the dove left and Noah uncovered the ark, he and his company spent another fifty-seven days inside until God directed them to come out. Wheeew! You are not safe until God says you are safe. Things may look okay to you, but you still need God to say, “Move”, before you do.

Altogether, Noah and others spent three hundred and eighty-two days (that is, about twelve and half months) in the ark to be delivered from a forty-day flood. Can you beat that?

So, next time God assures you He has taken care of a problem but you still see yourself stuck or constrained by the circumstances created by the problem, don’t doubt Him or bellyache. When you’re tempted to fret and complain that God is taking too long, remember the flood, remember Noah and his family in the ark.

I would imagine that Noah and his family devised means to keep themselves busy in the ark. They would have realised that worrying won’t make the time go faster and that harassing God won’t do it either. In the same way, allow God to guide you into some creative ways to spend your time in the wait. Don’t allow the enemy to turn you against God when He’s actually perfecting your miracle. Thank Him and listen closely to His signal before concluding that the wait is over.

May the Lord bless you as you bear the fruit of patience in major and minor issues of your life as you daily walk with Him in Jesus’ name.

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The scriptures used in this post are from the King James Version of the Holy Bible.
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I am a university lecturer. I teach Mass Communication, mostly writing courses like Feature and Interpretative Writing, Magazine Article Writing and News Writing, and let’s just say I’ve been doing this for a long time. As you have probably guessed, I am a born-again Christian.

103 thoughts on “NOAH AND THE FLOOD: A LESSON IN PATIENCE

  1. Hallelujah. Praise God! Waiting is indeed difficult and it truly takes Patience, a direct work of the Holy Spirit in the heart of the believer to remain in line with God until the morning, when Joy comes.

  2. Patience is truly a virtue we all should possess. I doubt if I have such patience but I pray God puts it in our hearts to have such patience. I cannot even imagine how it’d have felt… The long days they had to stay but many and even me would wait just few days and if God does not answer we frown and look for easier ways as we feel is right
    God help us!

  3. This post is specifically written for me… the story of the tortoise is the appropriate illustration to drive the issue of patience home.Thank you ma for using this piece to uplift my spirit.

  4. Patience is the key.when all seems bleak its best to keep pushing and waiting for the perfect time.Thank you ma.Have a wonderful week.

  5. Wonderfully written Edith Ugochi Ohaja.it is so true, at the end of waiting, we can get so impatient..like the last lap becomes suddenly too much..never thought of the patience of Noah..you brought it out so well.

    • Thanks a lot for dropping by, Rita! I’m glad you were blessed by the post. You’re such a wonderful friend and I’ll be sure to return the love in the near future.

  6. Ma! Your write-up about Noah is quite inspirational…I really learnt alot from it… Previously, I used to read Noah’s story just like that without digging deep …. I never really knew about the minute details talk more of its teachings on patience but because of this powerful write-up I’ve learnt how important it is to be patient even though it may not be easy. Thanks a lot Ma. I’m super grateful.

  7. I think this post was meant for me because I’m impatient most times. They waited for many days, but as for me, I don’t think I can wait that long.
    Patience is a virtue we all need to possess.

    • I think it’s natural to be impatient but God can help us bear the fruit of patience by His Spirit.

  8. Patience is a virtue they say… The journey with God needs the fuel of patience for a smooth ride. Everyone that walked with God successfully in the Bible had it. It is all about the ability to trust God for who He is and what He says despite anything contrary, and that settles the whole matter…Though, not as easy as it sounds.

    • Nice comment, Chidiebube. It may not be easy but we receive God’s grace for it when we place ourselves in Gods hands.

  9. Patience is the capacity to endure delay, trouble, opposition, or suffering without being angry, frustrated, or anxious. We can develop patience by seeking God and accepting his timing, trusting that He will fulfill all of His promises to us. As we learn to be patient in small things, we prepare ourselves to face larger trials or tests with patience

  10. I must confess Noah was really patient. I doubt I will be able to do such! Glory to God for Noah’s patience. Who knows if the human race would have continued? Patience is a good virtue we all should crave for. May we all imbibe this wonderful virtue. Bless u ma for reminding us of the need to be patient.

  11. Truely,Noah lived an examplary life for Christians to follow.By faith he remained faithful to God.Thanks for keeping men spiritually alert. God bless you more.

  12. This story is one of the stories I go through in the Bible when am down. Noah is among the top list of leaders that we should always look up to for example because he lived the way God wants us to live our lives but we are human so we just pray for God to help us to lengthen our patience so we will not rush things, because God’s time is the best.

  13. Insightful. I never understood that passage from this perspective. As i read the post, the scales in my eyes fell off!

  14. By the spirit of God upon Noah, he became so faithful and trusted in God. when the spirit is upon you, it means you are a winner, and will conquer impatience and other enemies of a living soul.

  15. Patience is a virtue we lack in this our generation and I think that is why we hardly witness Gods move in this our dispensation cos we are always in a hurry for God to do miracles and answer us immediately we call, not knowing that we have to go through some difficulties or tests before we get what we want.

  16. Patience is one virtue I know is difficult working with as everyone is in a rush but as they say, the patient dog eats the fattest bone.

  17. You are really inspiring us. I enjoyed this story very much because in our life today, most of us always rush things. What is supposed to happen in two to four years, we want it to happen today which is very wrong because the word of God says that,” Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly” (Proverbs 14:29). We really have to apply patience in all that we do because with it we can achieve many things. Impatience leads people to a dangerous path. Thanks so much for this wonderful food you made for us.

  18. Patience is a virtue Christians must imbibe. Being patient is difficult, assuming noah was not obedient to God’s word, He would have perished alongside the rest.

  19. When we pray and God takes time to respond ,doesn’t mean he doesn’t hear our prayers ,it only means he knows when best to grant you your wish,,we should remain patient with God and enjoy the benefits???

  20. Whew! What a wait. That was no small amount of patience. Heaven knows i couldn’t have waited that long. The story of Noah’s ark is indeed a beautiful lesson about the virtue that is patience. I love how you broke it down into bits to make people understand what Noah and his family really went through. It’s amazing. Splendid post aunty

  21. Noah’s flood serves as an example for us today in the matter of faith and a strong relationship with God. it was because of his faith that noah was able to survive the flood, though he had not ever seen anything as a flood covering the whole earth. he had faith, so we all can learn an example from this.

  22. To be patient is not easy. But the outcome of one’s patience is indeed worth the wait. Patience is a virtue

  23. Sometimes when we think our prayers are not getting answered, it’s the same way Noah and his family thought God was taking too long. But if we look carefully, we would understand how compassionate God can be. Sometimes he doesn’t answer immediately in order to save us from impending danger.

  24. Yes, waiting is the hardest thing to do. I can remember when I couldn’t get admission in the 2015/2016 session, i was challenging God. God was testing my patience. Patience is a great virtue. Without patience, the disciples of Christ wouldn’t have made it that far. Patience pays.

  25. Patience, a hard virtue but very important. at least, i know now that while things may seem not to be going my way, patience is key.

  26. My prayer about this story is that God should give me a faith like that of Noah and his family who obeyed God even though during his time according to bible there was nothing like dews let anlone having a rain fall but yet when God spoke to him with no doubt he believe and made the ark together with his family in accordance with the accurate requirement even though God wasn’t there to direct him but he made it in accordance with the instruction. But I have a logical question which is, where did the dove he sent to spy the earth gets the olive leaf since the entire earth was still at least covered with water.

    • That was towards the end of the story. The water had reduced substantially then, so it was possible for some plants and vegetation to be sprouting. Bless you!

  27. God requires patient people to work with them. Patience is not just by talking, it needs practicality. Noah exercised patience and God delivered him and his household from destruction.

  28. Yes patience is indeed key to success for those who can wait for God’s time. I am highly motivated by the teaching, ma.

  29. Patience as a virtue is not what we do now,we all are in the rush to get what we want,we forget that endurance has its greater benefits.
    God has a purpose for everything he does for his children irrespective of the sins they have committed
    No one has that endurance to stay locked up for months, its way impossible, I won’t be able to do that but Noah’s story has taught a great lesson.

  30. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”_Hebrews 11:1
    The thing about God is that he love to wait, watch and know where we stand. He expects us to be patient just as he himself is patient. We should never doubt God; if He puts us in the ark, he will surely bring us out; it is impossible to please God without faith (Hebrews 11:6) and what is faith without patience. No wonder the bible said:
    “By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.”_Hebrews 11:7
    Wonderful post indeed.

  31. patience is a virtue. i pray God give us the grace of possessing this excellent virtue. thanks, ma, for this wonderful article. thumbs up!

  32. Patience has always been a huge task for man. Its worse when you can see no sign of what you are waiting for, but the wait is always worth it if we endure. Patience is both a virtue and a gift that we must endeavor to practice always.

  33. Well said ma, we should strive to cultivate the habit of patient as seen in Noah’s story because God might be preparing us for something greater and there is need to avoid murmuring,nagging,complain etc because it hinders us from harnessing the blessing God has in reserve for us.

  34. During my childhood, Noah and the ark was a popular story taught in Sunday school. I never knew it has more to it than just how God destroyed the earth with flood. This beautifully written piece has made me see the other side of this story which is PATIENCE : A Practical virtue.
    More grace.

  35. There is an Igbo saying which states that “the patient man eats d fattest meat”. So we have to be patient and wait for God’s time

  36. Patience is a virtue everyone should possess not only for times of trouble but for our everyday lives. To be able to tolerate people around us and any condition we find ourselves in.

  37. Beautiful ma’am!
    There is blessing in waiting. It is even more beautiful when it is done without murmur or complaints. And I realize it takes an incredible amount of faith and confidence in God to wait, a level you get to with God that you have this assurance that what ever he desires me to do, No matter how long it takes, No matter what it will cost me, so long as God is the one involved, it is worth it, I have no fears at all, nothing can spoil!
    So aside patience now on Noah’s side, I see a man who trusts God with reckless abandon, one who believes God can’t just abandon me here, if he decides to take his time, I am fine with it.
    I pray we Christians imbibe this beautiful attributes in our daily lives and relationship with God.

  38. This write up is superb!!! the main idea here is to be patient and also to endure in any circumstance as far as you are a child of God he is always going to be with us.

  39. After reading this post the first thing i asked myself was that if i was Noah would i be able to wait. I really envy Noah and his patience, most times i go about complaining of what God has not done for me without even giving a thought to the Story of Noah. This post has thus taught me to always be patient and wait for God’s time

  40. This story really inspires me. There is a saying that the patient dog eats the fattest bone. Therefore we should strive to be patient even though it may not be easy. We should always remember that patience is a virtue.

  41. Patience is a virtue that every individual must have. There is a great reward for patience, which can be seen in the life of Noah

  42. Waiting to me seem very difficult. I have always known the story of Noah and his family simply but you ma have thrown more light on it and the possible challenges they might have faced staying in an ark filled with darkness for several months .But it was worth the wait which is why it is good to seek the face of the lord and wait patiently for his lead before you take any step in life

  43. Noah is an exemplary leader that exhibits the major thing that God wants from man. Which is “patience”. It’s an illustration for us, the living ones to emulate from his(Noah) attitude during the time of flooding in the world. Let’s always wait patiently for God, he will fulfill our requests.

  44. You are right! When the wait is almost over, it becomes most unbearable. Reminds me of a saying I saw. I was something like “When you can’t bear it anymore,it’s almost over”

  45. Honestly, I have never read the story of ”Noah and the ark” through the lens of patience. Thank you, ma, for helping me see this story from another angle. I learnt a great deal.

  46. Patience is a virtue they say. It is not always easy to wait but if it is possible to, there is always a great gain.

  47. Wonderful write up ma. The need for patience cannot be overemphasized we should imbibe such attribute.

  48. This glorious write up does justice to the idiom “patience is a virtue”. And it saved Noah’s life while the unholy sinners slept with the fishes. Wow! You rock ma, you’re an epitome of wisdom

  49. Noah was really patient, it looks so hard but he did it due to his patience, he lived an exemplary life for Christians to follow. patience is an important virtue.

  50. The story of noah teaches us two crucial things in life: one, you have to be alert, keep listening to God all the time to know when His call of love comes as it did to Noah; second, you have to be patient while waiting for God to manifest his work in your life.

  51. The story of Noah holds alot of good lessons! .it takes an incredible amount of faith and confidence in God to wait, a level you get to with God that you have this assurance that what ever he desires me to do, I will do.

  52. It is most expepedient that at times when we face various trials and temptation we should be patient enough to stay in the ark, hear what God is saying and follow his instructions carefully, just like Noah, because worry and lack of patience is a sign of how little you trust this big God.

  53. Patience is one of the fruit of the holy spirit. Galatians 5:22. patience is what every believer must have or posses.it is often said that God time is the best. We need to be patient with God when asking for something. Patience is the key.I pray God give us his grace to be patient in life.

  54. Being patient absolutely pays a lot. Although not everyone one has such spirit in them( including myself ). I pray God gives us the grace to be patient with one another, with situations especially during time of temptations as it is being said that “a patient dog eats the fatest bone” .

  55. The story of Noah is a very motivational one it teaches patience, and obedience to the word and instructions of God

  56. Noah is an example of a good leader. His story teaches us to be patient and to wait on God because God’s time is the best.

  57. Reading this post just got me thinking how it must have been extremely tiring to stay in the ark for more than a year, this is indeed the grace of God upon Noah and his family.

  58. Dear Edith, I needed this sooo much after dealing with our flooded basement I’ve been stuck at home for sooo long now! Renovations, chronic illness, migraines, my husband’s pneumonia, his relapse from the flooded basement, and chronic stress… yet I wondered on the day of the flood, diid God protect us from danger by MAKING us stay st home? And your blog is confirmation: This week my husband had a relapse, and also his grandfather died, and I had a severe migraine. Next week are appts., my husband flying out for a funeral, insurance adjusters, and contractors… all things to keep us focused on home and family. I’m beginning to sense it is not yet SAFE out there for whatever reason,,so I need to stop complaining about being trapped and thank God for His protection! I’ll be blogging about the flood soon at The Silver Lining, so I’m glad to have read your wise input. Thank you! God bless you my sweet, precious friend; in Jesus’ name! May God keep you and your husband safe and warm and dry in your home! Love you!! ???✝️

    • Amen. My heart goes out to you, Angela. I pray that the issues you mentioned get sorted out soon. As you said, however, God is using and will use the bad experiences for your good. In December, I was upset about something and a colleague on campus told me this: “Nothing happens to me, everything happens for me.” It changed my thinking and helped me cope. God’s grace, my dear, and healing for you and your husband in Jesus’ name. ❤️

  59. You are not safe until God says you are safe. Sometimes we think we have arrived not knowing that the journey is still far. Trust in the lord is all we need.
    In Noah’s case him and his family waited patiently without any complaints or murmuring. We should learn from Noah and his family to be grateful in any situation

  60. Patience is a good virtue. Many stories in the Bible including Noah’ s story taught much on patience which we Christians need to learn and imitate from but we are always in a haste. God help us.

  61. Apart from noah and the flood another good example of patience is the story of Abraham and his wife.
    I don’t know how they had patience and waited for Gods manifestation.
    In this 21st century the word patience is long gone in our heart .
    I pray that this viture returns to the heart of many who are in need of it, I included amen.

  62. Patience is indeed a great virtue that christains must have. God can delay a blessing to see if we have patience in him. Some employers use patience as a means for people to acquire their job. We must learn to endure in good and bad times because it is indeed a great virtue oneust possess.

  63. The lesson here is to allow God lead you in all direction. His ways are not that of a man, he cannot lie. If Noah hadn’t followed God’s direction, who knows what would have become of him and his household. He had patience and persevered and at the end, he had the last laugh.

  64. Noah’s story teaches me that waiting on God could be tricky and some times hard, but it always turns out perfect and in our best interest in the end

    • I love the lesson from this story. Patient is a virtue every child of God should have. especially ,in time of difficulties. we should have faith in God and let him guide us. I believe that the patient dog eats the fattest bone.

  65. This is overwhelming, I never thought of all these before now. I do know the story too well but I have never thought of it the way you explained it Ma nor attributed real life situations to it. Am glad I came across this story.

  66. The story of Noah and the Ark has been my childhood favorite. Up until now I never would have picked out patience as one of the virtues to learn from the Noah story. With this new light of the story, it makes you understand that you can never rush God into anything and that things will happen according to his time. I have also come to realize that patience is virtue we need to add to our arsenal.

  67. God has perfect timing; never early, never late. It takes a little patience and it takes a lot of faith but it’s worth the wait

  68. Patience is a virtue
    Most people rush into conclusions that God doesn’t listen or doesn’t answer their prayers. Unknown to them, God is busy planning the best and avoiding evil from befalling them. Thank you ma for this write up.

  69. Patience! Patience!! This is one virtue that majority of people, especially in Nigeria lacks. Its a very important virtue anyway, but for how long can we able to wait, that’s why many people make irrational decisions and conclusion. Patience is not a virtue only meant for children of God, but for everybody. Well in this 21st century, it will difficult to find someone that has that kind of Noah’s patience, we are always in a fire brigade approach..

  70. Noah was truly patience surviving all the days in the ark.for our youth don’t and cant have that patience exhibited by Noah. Even little chores given by our parent in our contemporary time we grow impatience and leave it undone.

  71. Noah and the ark is a version of patience, humility and true leadership at that time.many would have faultered, feared, discouraged but this man stand tall up until they were out of the ark.

  72. When walking with God one has to be patient, humble, submissive. God’s timing is the best it might not be in line with our timing but when we wait upon the Lord the end result is always glorious.

  73. Patience is indeed a virtue we all need to obtain. Achieving alot of things in life involves having patience especially walking with God. His time might not be your time because it is the best time.

  74. Noah and the ark is a version of patience, humility and the true leadership at that time.many would have faultered, feared, discouraged but this man stand tall up until they were outbid the ark.

  75. I have learnt from this post that patience is key, though waiting may be hard but it’s worth it when we see the result. And also we should wait for God to tell us to move before we move that is the only guarantee of our safety.

  76. Woah! Noah and his family spent an awfully long time in the ark. Never knew until now, lol.

  77. Patience is truly a virtue we all should possess. we should strive to cultivate the habit of patient as seen in Noah’s story because God might be preparing us for something greater. We should always try to cultivate the habit of being patient with every situation.

  78. And the good thing about God’s time is that it is always the best. There is no time he will do something, It will be too late or too early. His time is always perfect and ideal.

  79. Noah was resilient and patient which many leaders and individuals lack this days. if only those that were killed had the chance a second time they Would have stayed there in the ark for years. for he does everything for our good. patience is key in receiving everlasting solution and provision for our livelihood. patience is a virtue we should adopt in everything we do.

  80. Noah as his great attributes.we should emulate this kind of patience, live for God.if it was people of our time they would have lost hope a long time ago.he saves all lovely creatures created by God.we should remember the great and faithful menbof that time.

  81. Oh my God. They were really patient o. For twelve and half months inside the ark.
    When God promises you something, just be patient and trust the process. He will do what he promised in a perfect way more than what you expected.

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