“I wonder exactly what Grampa means when he says his God is always there and always faithful,” I thought as I lay in the hayloft of the barn practicing a new song on my flute.
“Enoch, where are you?” The angry voice startled me.
“Uh oh, what did I do now?” I stuffed my flute into a pocket, climbed down the ladder and ran toward the door of the barn.
“I’m coming, Pop!”
I couldn’t help but think to myself, “Where is Grampa’s God when I’m in trouble?”
When I got to the barn door, I saw Pop standing in the goat pen comforting a distressed goat. Then I knew what was wrong. I had forgotten to milk the nanny goats, but they didn’t forget and were making their displeasure known, loudly.
I ran toward the goat pen. “I’m sorry, Pop, I was in the barn and forgot to do the milking.” I gathered the stool, the bucket, and started milking.
“What were you doing in the barn that caused you to forget the goats…again?” he said. “Were you busy doing some work or just day dreaming?”
I kept milking the nanny goat and didn’t answer right away. Finally, I said, “I’m sorry Pop. I was thinking about something and just forgot. It won’t happen again. I promise.”
He leaned down toward me and spoke quietly into my ear, “That’s what you said last time, and the time before that.” He straightened up and spoke a little louder, “When are you going to stop forgetting and be a responsible boy?” Then he walked around to the other side of the goat, hooked a finger under my chin, lifted my face and looked me right in the eyes. “Enoch… son, you are 10 years old, and I need to be able to count on you. Please do the chores I ask you to do.”
His words burned like fire in my heart, but I didn’t want Pop to know. So I looked down again and just kept on milking.
Pop straightened up and said, “I am going over to work on the project with your Grandfather today. Don’t forget any more of your chores. I’ll check on you at lunchtime. I’m counting on you son, don’t let me down.” He turned and walked away toward the west meadow where they were building the “project”.
My hands kept milking the goat, but my eyes followed him as he walked away. I felt my throat tighten up, my eyes began to water, and my eyesight to blur.
I thought to myself, “I hate disappointing him.”
I wanted to run after him and beg his forgiveness. But I knew that the best way to get it was to earn it by doing all of my chores and doing them well. I sniffled and wiped my eyes. I continued to watch Pop walk toward the project while my hands began to milk as fast as they could.
“How could I trust a God that isn’t there to help me when I need it?”
As soon as I was done with all my chores, I decided to go over to the west meadow and watch Pop, my uncles, and Grampa work on the project. I ran toward a little hill that overlooked the whole meadow, and I lay down in the grass at the top of the hill facing the meadow so I could see it. It was huge.
It had been there for as long as I could remember. It was the biggest thing I had ever seen. It filled up the whole sky to the west and when the sun was setting, there was this huge, black outline I could see even from my bedroom window.
Pop told me God had appeared to Grampa and told him to build it. Grampa calls it an “ark.” He said it was a boat and would float on water. I’d never heard of a boat before.
At that moment, I wasn’t too sure about my Grampa’s thinking.
You see, all of my friends (and everyone else in town) said Grampa was crazy. They said that he was especially crazy to build the boat. There wasn’t any water to float it on here in the desert.
Grampa had spent his whole life here in the high desert, far away from any sort of town. Maybe he was a little out of touch with … things.
All I know for sure is that Pop, Grampa, and my two uncles all spend part of everyday working on it. It’s like our family thing, this boat or ark.
Every day I had to feed chickens and goats and milk the goats. I had to collect all the eggs. Sometimes I would talk to the animals when I was feeling lonely or when I was thinking that this whole ark thing was just plain crazy.
Grampa heard me talking to them one morning when I was not feeling very good about our family “project”. After I was done with my chores he took me for a walk to his favorite tree. We sat down and talked for a long time. He told me about how the Lord had really talked to him and that, at first, even Grammie thought he was crazy too.