Noelle's Ark

Lessons From a Floating Zoo

I mean no disrespect to the Biblical patriarch Noah, but I’ve always been more curious about what his wife thought of the project that took forever to complete, cluttered up the yard, and seemed completely useless at the time.

We have no record that God spoke to the missus when he directed her husband to build the Astrodome of boats. What must she have thought? Was she as spiritual as her husband or was she the trusting sort who hoped he’d get it out of his system and move on to something else?

Noah’s wife—let’s call her Noelle—garners only a brief mention, and then it’s in reference to her husband. But she was a person too, and like any wife, crucial to the success of her husband’s mission.

So what can we in the twenty-first century learn from Noah’s wife?

1. Don’t squash your partner’s dreams.

This boat-building project was between Noah and his God. Alone. Although the three sons were later involved in the work and eventual salvation from the Flood, they had nothing but their father’s word that this was an inspired endeavor.

Along with being a stand-up guy and superbly righteous, Noah must have been a great dad. How many sons would spend a hundred years helping their father with a project that seemed pointless? Just because he asked them to. That says a great deal about the kind of man Noah was.


And his wife must have supported that. Even if she never had the vision herself, she supported his. No power-struggles. No criticizing Dad’s dream. Noelle’s response to her husband’s project may have been the chief reason all three sons joined them on the ark. In supporting her husband, she also saved her family and the future of the human race.

2. Watch where you step!

Imagine sharing your home with that many animals! None of them housebroken and no yard to send them to. Imagine the smell! Imagine spending over a year cooped up with braying, honking, quacking, bellowing beasts of every kind. That would be enough to send most women over the edge of the boat.

Noelle must have had a spine (and a nose) of steel and a faith as strong as her husband’s. Once the first raindrops started, she must have looked at her man as though he was God himself.

So he was right all along! God really did speak to him!

How thankful she must have been that she hadn’t fussed at him for the last hundred years. She’d supported his project, believed in his vision, and trusted his relationship with God even though she may not have been privy to the conversation. She’d kept her foot out of her mouth and was quite thankful when that boat began to rise. She was careful where she stepped when it came to his convictions and God blessed her for it.

3. Your house doesn’t have to be perfect all the time.

What a pig pen! Literally. Four men and three daughters-in-law to pick up after—not to mention all those smelly beasts—could make a woman crazy before the rain had stopped. Most women like their nests kept in some sort of order. But since there were no neighbors to drop by unexpectedly and no town gossips to spread the word—Did you see Noelle’s boat yesterday? What a mess!”—she did the best she could and then let it go.


This was God’s house, existing for His purposes. So there were bear droppings in the hall and the parrots were chattering night and day. The family was together, they were safe, and they were right where God put them. She could live with that.

The next time your spouse gives you a sheepish look and says, “Honey, I believe God’s leading me somewhere, but I’m not sure how you’ll take it,” remember Noelle. Maybe the survival of the human race doesn’t depend on your attitude, but when God’s talking, you don’t want to get in the way.

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