Ducks in a Row: "And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that He rewards those who sincerely seek him." (Hebrews 11:6, NLT)

Ducks in a Row

Living by faith is obeying the God who knows the whole picture. Sometimes we say we want to walk by faith but only when we get our ducks in row and can control much of the process.

Abram and Sarai

Listen in on the conversation that might have taken place when Abram and Sarai were called to walk by faith:

Abram: Sarai, God has told me we should leave our home and family and go to a land He’ll show us.

Sarai: How long will it take to get there?

Abram: I don’t know.

Sarai: Where are we going?

Abram: I don’t know.

Sarai: What will we do when we get there?

Abram: I don’t know.

Sarai: When will we come back?

Abram: I don’t think we’ll ever come back.

Sarai: I’m going to need a bigger suitcase.

Maybe that conversation never happened, but knowing human nature, it could have. Sometimes God calls us to do things that others, even family and friends, don’t quite understand. Abraham’s faith and obedience is often discussed in sermons and Bible studies, but Sarah had to have faith as well…not only in God but in her husband. Waiting to see God’s plan come about is seldom easy, and Sarah and Abraham both took matters into their own hands more than once. However, they tried to obey the word of the Lord.

Obeying God is not blind faith. It’s knowing faith… faith in the God we know.

Then the Lord told Abram, “Leave your country, your relatives, and your father’s house, and go to the land that I will show you. I will cause you to become the father of a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and I will make you a blessing to others. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you. All the families of the earth will be blessed through you.”

Genesis 12:1-3 (NLT)

The reward for obedience was tremendous. God promised not only to bless Abraham and his family, but the entire human race.

Is God calling you to obey Him and step out in faith even when family and friends may think you’re a little crazy? James tells us “faith without works is dead” (James 2:26). Abraham shows us that faith with obedience reaps God’s blessing. Abraham didn’t exactly have all his ducks in a row, but he had the word of God, and he obeyed.

Noah and Mrs. Noah

Listen in on another conversation that may have happened when another couple was called to walk by faith:

Noah: Honey, God told me to build an ark.

Mrs. Noah: What’s an ark?

Noah: It’s a big boat.

Mrs. Noah: But we don’t even live near an ocean.

Noah: God said He’s going to send rain, and it will flood the whole earth.

Mrs. Noah: What’s rain?

Noah: It’s water from heaven. The water will cover all the earth, but we will be safe in the ark.

Mrs. Noah: It sounds like an interesting vacation, but damp air makes my hair frizz!

Noah: Honey, God’s got bigger problems than your frizzy hair. All of mankind has become evil and rebellious. Our family will be the only people to survive the flood. Oh, and we will bring all the different kinds of animals on the ark with us and take care of them.

Mrs. Noah: There goes my manicure.

I imagine it was difficult for them to obey because the people around them must have thought they’d lost their minds building a boat in the middle of the desert. What is remarkable about this story is how Noah’s family followed what he said God was telling them to do. They followed by faith and got into the ark.

Another remarkable thing is that Noah didn’t worry about how this was all going to happen. He didn’t wonder how in the world they would get all the right animals on the ark. He didn’t worry about how long it was taking to build the ark. He only concentrated on obedience to the Lord and being the man God created him to be.

Noah didn’t have all his ducks in a row; although, we know he had at least two ducks in a row! But Noah’s faith was amazing. Most scholars believe rain had never fallen upon the earth before that time. Noah had the wood, pitch, and exact directions for building the ark; and the animals showed up just in time to get into the ark. But until that point, all he did, he did by faith in the word of the Lord. No storm clouds were on the horizon. In fact, it took 120 years to build the ark.

So Noah did everything exactly as God had commanded him.

Genesis 6:22 (NLT)

In both stories, when the time was right, God always put the necessary ducks in a row, just in time and in just the right way. Abraham and Noah didn’t have to worry about the circumstances because they trusted in the God who holds the circumstances squarely in His capable hands.

It’s not blind faith. It’s knowing faith…faith in the God we know.

You can’t get ducks in a row without faith

In fact, the only time things get messed up in the Bible’s stories of faith is when people try to put the ducks in a row with their own logical thinking and human ability.

When God called us to Taiwan the second time (we served as missionaries for seven years, then returned home for a little over a year before returning again to Taiwan), we were on our own. The first time we had been hired directly by a church. This time we went to start a new church. We had no mission board behind us but had several churches praying with us. We knew God was calling us to go.

Terrie and Dave

I really wanted all my ducks in a row. I really wanted a little more control of the situation. But it was more like this:

Dave: Honey, I read a book called Daring to Live on the Edge by Loren Cunningham, and I’ve asked God to allow us to live that way.

Me: What!? You should tell me before you pray a prayer like that! Warn me next time.

Dave: I know in my heart that God is calling us back to Taiwan to start a new church.

Me: Where will we live?

Dave: I don’t know.

Me: How will we afford an apartment?

Dave: I don’t know.

Me: How much should I pack?

Dave: Only what we can take on the plane.

Me: I’m gonna need a bigger plane.

We prayed. We asked others to pray. We gave notice to our landlord that we weren’t renewing our lease. We gave notice at our teaching jobs that we wouldn’t be back in the fall. And we prayed more. We packed up our lives and our kids. We contacted friends who would help us find a place to live and to stay our first night back in Taiwan. And we prayed some more.

Our ducks were not getting in a row, but we knew God had it in His hands. One day Dave was praying with a pastor friend on the phone about jobs for us in Taiwan. We’d applied, but we had heard nothing. As they prayed, I received an email from a school that I had not applied to, offering us positions in the fall.

Within a short time, our plane tickets were paid for by our home church, and another church took an offering that helped us have some money for setting up our house when we landed. Our friends in Taiwan found us a furnished apartment while we were flying to Taiwan. By the time we landed, our other friend had two vans at the airport to meet us, and as we drove to the apartment near the school where we’d be teaching, we found out we’d have to pay the full amount we had in our account to sign the lease. However, by the time we arrived, our friend’s wife negotiated it down to an amount we could manage.

When the ducks finally got into a row, that row had nothing to do with what we did. It was all God working and using His wonderful people to bless us. We sometimes wondered if we were crazy to do what we did, and I wonder if at times Abraham, Noah, and every other believer who has ever obeyed God has wondered if they were crazy at times. But God always provided. God always confirmed through His Word and His Church that we were obeying His direction for our lives.

So, what is God calling you to obey?

What direction is He leading you? How will your conversation go?

It’s not blind faith. It’s knowing faith…faith in the God we know.

Books to spark a conversation with your kids

I like to suggest a picture book that we can share with our kids dealing with similar topics as my blog posts. For this one, I suggest sharing the stories of Abraham and Noah or other Bible characters who faithfully obeyed and followed God by faith (Esther comes to mind).

Book cover: "Maybe I can Love my Neighbor Too" by Jennifer Grant.

In addition, I love the book Maybe I Can Love My Neighbor Too written by Jennifer Grant and illustrated by Benjamin Schipper. This is the story of a girl who discovers ways to love her neighbors through practical choices. These are the everyday steps of faith that can change the world little by little. The faith of a child is a powerful thing. I know you’ll love sharing this book together.

1 thought on “Ducks in a Row”

  1. I enjoyed reading your post–and I remember some of those crazy flights of obedience that you guys have taken!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *