By faith Noah . . .” (Hebrews 11:7)
In 1979, my wife Mally and I took what was to us a big step of faith. I resigned from my position as a public school teacher to go full time into the creation apologetics ministry. We had no guarantees of money to live on, but we could testify to an obvious calling on our lives from the Lord to go into ministry.
In 1987, Mally and I took another step of faith. We moved to America. Even though we did not know the Lord had planned it, the Answers in Genesis ministry was the result.
In December 1993, along with two other families, we prepared to move to the Cincinnati/northern Kentucky area to start AiG and eventually build a Creation Museum. In May 2007, the Creation Museum was opened, and almost 2 million people have now visited this God-honoring facility.
These were just a few of the many events in our lives of stepping out in faith into apologetics ministries the Lord had called us to. We’ve seen many miracles of provision over the years. But like the Israelites conquering the Promised Land, we’ve had many battles. But looking back, even though sometimes we couldn’t understand what was happening at the time and why, we can see God’s hand leading us.
Even though these steps of faith seemed to be getting bigger and bigger, I recognize that our steps were relatively small compared to the faith of some of the giants of the Bible. Take Noah for instance! Wow! I often think of the great faith he must have had when he obeyed God’s instruction to build an Ark for the saving of his family and the land-animal kinds.
Considering only eight people boarded that Ark, and reading the description of a wicked world in Genesis 6, I can only imagine what Noah had to endure. Most everyone must have mocked him. He spent decades building an Ark, believing God that there was going to be a catastrophic judgment by water. As far as we know, he didn’t know how long he would be on the Ark; and he would have to trust God to take care of his family and the animals. No wonder Noah is found in what I call the “Faith Hall of Fame” recorded in Hebrews 11.
In October 2007, months after AiG’s Creation Museum opened, the board and staff of Answers in Genesis stepped out in faith once again. We decided to build a full-size Noah’s Ark in order to remind people of Noah’s faithfulness, God’s judgment, and His salvation.
Now, this was at a time when the American economy was starting to get in deep trouble. The Great Recession was about to hit. The obvious question for us was: should AiG attempt such a huge project when so many people were having a tough time and might not be able to help with their donations? I vividly recall our chairman of the board (a pastor), Don Landis, saying something like this: “What better time than now to proclaim a message of hope and salvation to millions of people?” Right then, the board took a big step of faith and voted to proceed with the Ark outreach.
To us, the Ark Encounter, to be built on some beautiful property in northern Kentucky (south of Cincinnati), has been a giant step of faith. And yet, as I think about Noah, our endeavors really pale by comparison.
What a privilege it is that we can remind the world of a great man, Noah, and the faith-step he took, so that we can also share with the world about sin, God’s judgment on it, and of God’s love and provision for our salvation.
We’re not told how long Noah took to build the Ark—and we really don’t know when our Ark (called “Ark Encounter”) will be completed. It’s a complex project, involving complicated permits, the design of high-tech exhibits, and many legal matters.
For instance, we’ve had to spend the last few months re-doing the legal structure for the Ark project, largely because of the “ObamaCare” health care legislation. Our restructuring was done in an effort to try and avoid the same problem which the retail chain Hobby Lobby and religious-based organizations are now battling in the courts (i.e., the mandate to include abortion-causing contraceptives and drugs as part of their health insurance plan.)
Praise God, that legal step is over, construction permits have either been obtained or are in process, some incredibly creative exhibits have already been designed to go inside the Ark, etc.
Looking back, as AiG has stepped out in faith, we have seen God’s hand all along the way—just as we did with the building of the Creation Museum.
We pray that in the near future, visitors to the full-size Ark will be challenged to have an encounter with God’s Word and, most of all, an encounter with the Lord Jesus.
For more information, go to ArkEncounter.com.