Randy Wagner might have seemed crazy – but he knew what he was doing!
Can you imagine what life was like during the Generation of the Flood? People were going about life as usual, while a lone man spent a year building a massive ark. People would walk by and laugh, “What are you doing Noach?” they would ask. And Noach would tell them, “I’m building an ark. A flood will be coming soon and it will destroy the entire world!”
People would laugh! A crazy man! “Do you really believe these things can happen?” people must have asked. The world is fine. There is no need to make preparations for anything. Life is good…
Suddenly the rains began. People must have thought – as so often happens – that they would bring blessing to the world, and the sun would show itself shortly. Yet it didn’t happen. The rains continued for 40 days and 40 nights. The flood destroyed the entire world. It took a full year before it was safe for Noach and his family to leave the ark.
Randy Wagner heard about the possibility of a giant flood and took every precaution. He took the warning seriously – and went out to purchase an Aqua Dam – a large tube designed to prevent any water from passing it. He took a few hours in preparing it together with another two men. They surrounded the entire house with it sealing up the home from any potential harm.
Randy was laughed at by others. Indeed, when the danger isn’t apparent, everything out of the ordinary seems funny! But Randy still went ahead anyway – even though it cost him a whopping $8 300! How many of us can even afford it – certainly not when an imminent danger cannot be seen?
Thank God. He was fortunate. He was blessed. He did everything he could to save his life, his family’s life and his home and belongings. The effort was worth it. Even the embarrassment suffered by building his “ark” as others chose to laugh at his foolishness. He was well rewarded for his effort!
Amazingly – listen to what he says… He thanks God for practically planting the idea of obtaining this contraption. He realises that one cannot know for certain what decisions to make in life, but that he thanks God for giving him the wisdom to make the right decisions. Perhaps Noach felt the same way – perhaps had he been interviewed after the Flood – he too would have shared some similar comments – in spite of the others who would still refuse to acknowledge a God in control of life in this world.
Indeed, all our lives are like this every day. We are in this world for a purpose, and we must do everything we can to fulfill that purpose. Even when others laugh at us – as we as Jews go about fulfilling Mitzvot which seem illogical and apparently meaningless. We observe the Shabbat. We eat Kosher. We fulfill laws of sexual morality including the laws of Family Purity. We make blessings on food. Men wear Tefillin every day. We put up Mezuzot on the doorposts of our houses. We eat Matzah on Pesach. We do all sorts of illogical things.
The Jokers of Life – and the Rest of Us
There will always be those who laugh at us – even of our own kind! What we must know is that when we do these things – we should turn to God and say “Thank you” for helping us to make the right decisions in life. It may seem like nothing is actually going on… but one day there will be a flood. Not the kind with water – but the kind when the soul leaves the body to enter the world for which it works in this world. When that day arrives, those who have observed those Mitzvot and who have studied the Torah will see the shelter and protection they have created for themselves. Now – they will value their efforts.
As we behave in the physical world – doing everything we can to save ourselves, protect ourselves and to look after ourselves – and our family and friends(!) – so too should we not forget the importance of doing everything we can to guard ourselves spiritually – even when the whole world laughs!
This story is really a powerful one. A lone man took upon himself to do something everybody else felt was a waste of time and perhaps even money. Yet, in the end, it was he who was saved – because he took every precaution he could – even when it seemed crazy!