On that very day Noah and his sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth, together with his wife and the wives of his three sons, entered the ark. Genesis 7:13
If you are good at riddles, see if you can unravel this one. At one time I was undisputedly one of the four most beautiful women in the world. I was the mother of three sons, the wife of one of the most assailed yet important men in the world. History has ignored my name, the date of my birth and death, and my family background, yet my husband was quoted by Moses and Ezekiel in the Old Testament and by both Christ and Peter in the New Testament.
Do you think you know her name? OK, one more clue. Whether you are Filipino, Chinese, Hispanic, Caucasian, or an Eskimo with a mixed bloodline, you are a direct offspring of this woman. No, not Eve, the wife of Adam. The woman who is the subject of the riddle is identified only as the wife of Noah. If ever a woman’s true value and worth were underrated, I’m convinced it was this woman.
We learn a lot about this woman by the way she related to her husband, her three sons and their wives, and the way she handled the stress of seeing her world come apart. In the event you aren’t familiar with what she faced, allow me to give you a thumb-nail sketch.
The record says that she lived in a time of unprecedented moral corruption and violence—a rather difficult environment in which to raise children. Her husband was maligned and hated about as much as anyone alive. Reading between the lines, we can assume that on more than one occasion she wiped tears from the eyes of her boys as they grew up, the result of being picked on by older bullies who made fun of their preacher-dad who built a huge barn-ark sort of structure designed to float on the surface of a vast ocean.
She also had to deal with the discouragement which surely confronted her husband when no one responded to his pleading with the crowds to turn from their wickedness and throw themselves on the mercies of God.
For lack of a better term, we’ll call her Mrs. Noah, and she was a tough little lady who also had to cope with the reality that when she set foot on that ark her husband and their boys had built, she walked away from her home, her friends, the local market, and her neighborhood. Yet there is no indication that she argued against the move, or complained about what she couldn’t pack and take with her.
Frankly, there are a lot of Mrs. Noahs alive today—the unknown, unnamed heroes who pack lunches, put band-aids on scraped knees, bolster their husbands’ egos when they are ready to throw in the towel and quit, and keep a home together, often holding down a job themselves.
Automation, said someone, is watching TV while the housework gets done, the lunches packed, the laundry done and the dinner fixed. When we were kids we called it “mother.”
Moses described Mrs. Noah’s husband as a righteous man who walked with the Lord. I’m confident the same thing could have been written of his wife who walked by his side.
Marriage as God intended it is a partnership with both individuals maintaining their own personalities and uniqueness, yet working together, functioning as one. Yes, I’m aware that history usually notes the accomplishments of men, often ignoring the wives and mothers who enabled them to excel. It was true of Mrs. Noah and it is still true today; nonetheless, when you succeed as a mother, your children will bear your imprint and someday will call you blessed, and when you stand in the presence of God I suspect that you will hear Him say, “Good job!” We already know that, and so does God, our Heavenly Father.
Resource reading: Genesis 7:1-8:22