Woodshed Wisdom

By Freeman Martin

Do you have a rain gauge at your house? After several rainy days lately, I’ve heard several folks talking about checking their rain gauges to see how much we’ve had. And last night the tv weatherman said we’ve had anywhere from three-fourths of an inch to maybe an inch and a quarter in the last couple of days.

Is it just me or does it seem like attitudes change on rainy days? Seems like I vaguely remember some words to an old song about rainy days and Mondays gettin’ people down. Maybe it would help if we had ‘an attitude gauge’ sittin’ right beside the rain gauge. That way, every time we check the rain gauge, we’d be reminded to check our attitude gauge. The more the rain, the bigger the smile! But that’s just a little side road.

Anyway, a while back we had what the weather prognosticators called a significant rain event. Anywhere from twelve to twenty inches or so fell over parts of our neck of the woods in just a couple of days. Naturally that much rain in that short time caused some damage. Roads were cut in two. Trees were falling across power lines. Schools had to be closed. And some city water systems had to be shut down. I won’t call any names, but I know some ladies in offices around town that were getting’ bothered by not being able to go to the powder room. If you catch my drift!

That took me down the path beyond the smokehouse and the pear tree back home at Route 4. The biggest cause for alarm around the ‘powder room’ on the farm was when somebody used up all the slick pages in the Sears and Roebuck Fall and Winter Catalog. The names are omitted to protect the guilty. 

But back to the main road. When we had the big rain recently, government people came in and set up shop for awhile to help people get back on their feet. I’m thankful for that. And, not to make light of a serious situation, but, mercy sakes alive, some folks were horrified that their favorite cafe (walk-ins and drive-thru) had to close for a few days. No flush – no food, I guess! And I heard about several bridges that were washed out, too.

Our friend Janice reminded me the other day about how she and her sister Sandra used to huddle up together in the back seat, scared silly, when their Daddy, Mr. Ralph Wynn, used to drive across those loose-board kind of bridges we had back home.

We had one across Coneross Creek on our dirt road at Route 4. No side rails and just barely wide enough for one empty pulpwood truck. It’s a good thing we didn’t have one of those big, double-wheel ‘dooley’ trucks that I see these days!

I remember one time in particular when we were on our way back to the farm from haulin’ another load of pulpwood to the woodyard in town. And it was rainin’ cats and dogs! I mean a gully-washing, frog strangler. The creek was already runnin’ over its banks and starting to run across the bridge. Daddy stuck his head through the hole where the back window of the truck used to be and shouted over the roar of the water. “Boys, yawl hurry up now and get off the truck and walk across the bridge.” And then he would creep across the bridge like a snail. I would have felt better if he had driven across in front of us. But I guess the water was rising too fast to wait.

Well, we made it across the bridge even while the muddy water was lapping over the tops of our brogans. And we had to walk all the way up the muddy hill to the house. Daddy couldn’t stop the pulpwood truck to pick us up for fear of slidin’ back down towards the creek. And by the time we made it to the top of the hill, we could see parts of the bridge floating down the creek. At least our ‘bathroom’ was working. And thank goodness, we had upgraded to a two-holer!

Back to our recent rainfall. Some folks even called it the Flood of ’09. When I hear about floods, I can’t help but think about The Flood! See Genesis, chapters 6 though 8 if you want to read about a real flood and the 600-year-old man that God picked to ‘drive the truck’ while the rain was fallin’. Of course, people didn’t even know what rain was when God told Noah to build the Ark. It hadn’t rained in about a hundred years. You talk about a drought! In modern time-talk, just imagine if it hadn’t rained since 1909!

But God told Noah it was going to rain for 40 days and 40 nights, and Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord because he believed and obeyed every word God spoke. After all, here’s a man who had three sons when he was 500 years old! So Noah did every thing the Lord told him to do (Gen. 7:5). And God didn’t have to tell him ‘when are you going to learn to do what I tell you to do,’ like a bunch of farm boys that I know!

Anyway, Noah took his wife, their 3 sons, and their wives and got on the boat. And then all the animals came two-by-two. Noah didn’t have to go looking for them. God sent them and then He closed the door (Gen.7:15-16). Think about it. Noah’s family of eight and all the animals are on board. Who’s going to shut the door? All Noah had to do was get himself and his family aboard. Sometimes we get upset when God shuts doors in our lives. But, more often than not, it’s probably for our own good!

Anyway, for five months water covered the earth. It was even twenty feet over the tops of the mountains (Gen.7:20). Everything on the face of the earth, man and mammal, crabgrass and kudzu, mosquitoes, snakes, and fire ants, too, were wiped out.

Have you heard about the man in the Netherlands who has built a working replica of Noah’s Ark according to Bible specifications with life size models of the animals? That thing must be awesome! I’d love to see it. Thanks, Gloria and Tommy for sending me the picture.  

But, you know what I like best about the story of Noah’s Ark? Genesis, chapter eight, verse one. With everything that God had going on, total destruction of his creation, He remembered Noah and his family of eight and all the animals with him in the ark. And eventually the rain stopped. The water went down. The sun came out again.

What that tells me is that even the most righteous man on the earth had to endure a big storm. I mean, he had to stay ‘cooped’ up with his family of eight 24/7 for five months! Wife, sons, daughters-in-law. The whole kit and caboodle. And after it was over, there was lots of damage.  Bridges out and everything. Probably some ‘family bridges’ needed to be repaired. But the sun did come out again for Noah and his family. And no matter how big the storm is in your life right now, the sun will come out again for you and your family. But there’s a big IF – if we find favor in the eyes of the Lord!

When our grandchildren were little, they loved to play the ‘what if’ game. It was “Poppa, what if this and what if that? When I see ol’ Noah, I have a question for him, too. What did he do to keep those two woodpeckers occupied for five months on a wooden boat? And I have a “what if” question for all us grownups. What if every family on the face of the earth found favor once again in the eyes of the Lord?

I’m sure you’ve seen the list entitled “Everything I need to know about life, I learned from Noah’s Ark.” This is good enough to fold up and put in your Bible to mark your place in Genesis, chapters six through eight. That’s where we’ll find the real lessons from Noah’s story. But Item Number One on the ‘Everything’ list is good advice. And I offer it here, free of charge, for all of us to remember every time it rains.

Don’t miss the boat!