Reverend Dr. William H. Curtis

Next Time
Noah opened a window he had made in the ark and sent out a raven, and it kept flying back and forth until the water had dried up from the earth. Then he sent out a dove to see if the water had receded from the surface of the ground. But the dove could find nowhere to perch because there was water over all the surface of the earth; so it returned to Noah in the ark. He reached out his hand and took the dove and brought it back to himself in the ark. He waited seven more days and again sent out the dove from the ark.
Genesis 8:6-10 (NIV)

Noah survived 40 days of unrelenting waters released from the heavens, followed by 150 days of floating on the waters of the unknown. You would think that the last series of seven days, in which he sends out the raven and the dove, would have been more than enough to make him lose faith in whatever was supposed to be next.

But the lesson of this text is that what God is going to do in your future is worth the repeated attempts to move forward. Faith always believes in the “next time.”

God has a “next time” in your life. “Next time” is why Noah was able to send that dove out after the raven was unsuccessful. And when Noah had to open the window and let that dove back in, he didn't hesitate. He retrieved it and he waited another seven days. Then he opened the window again and repeated the cycle. Why? Because he never lost faith in the gift and possibility of a “next time.”

Thank God that Noah didn’t give up. Even though he must have been frustrated from all the time he'd been locked into that ark, Noah believed it was worth trying again. Noah decided that no matter how many times that dove returned, he would give it time and then make another attempt.

Every time life does something to make you have to shut that window because what you thought was next is not happening today, I need you to trust God enough that you’ll decide, “I don't care how long I have to wait; when it's my turn to show up, I'm going to show up and believe that if it didn't happen before it can happen now.”

Consider the unsuccessful attempts of your past. What would you do differently next time? How would you think differently next time? What would you say? How slow would you be to move? What counsel would you seek? What patience would you exercise? What prayers would you offer? What apology would you ask for? What forgiveness would you extend? What mercy would you display? What dream would you hold tighter? Whatever those questions are, try to answer them in ways that honor God and demonstrate your faith.

That dove returning and the raven searching for a perch and not being able to find it—these are not signs of “never.” There is a “next time.” And the best offering you can give to God is to keep that window open for “not right now” and to let it rest with you for just a little while longer. Treat it right and steward it faithfully, because a “next time” is coming.