Friday, March 18, 2011

DEVOTION: A Boat in the Karoo? - Shirley Corder

The Great Karoo Desert of South Africa is a vast and unforgiving plateau where you can drive for hundreds of kilometers without seeing sign of life. If you look hard, you may spot the occasional flock of sheep, grazing amongst the sporadic shrubs in this sparse barren landscape. You wonder how they survive, yet survive they do. Believe it or not, these hardy Karoo sheep provide the main economic activity for this part of the subcontinent. They provide farmers with both wool and the world-renowned "Karoo lamb".

Imagine if you will, going up to one of these tough sunburned sheep farmers in his arid Karoo farm, and telling him that God wanted him to build an ocean-going liner. If by some incredible miracle you succeeded in this venture, think of trying to persuade his uneducated farm labourers, whose only view of a boat has been the small one hitched to the back of their boss's car for use on a faraway dam.

If you can imagine this scenario, you will have a small picture of the amazing faith Noah showed. He'd never seen the sea. There had never been rain. Yet he agreed to build the ark for God. We don't know if he had a pet dog, but I'm sure he'd never had a close encounter with an elephant. Yet he trusted God to help him round up pairs of all the animals!

If you were the first person to write this story, I wonder how many readers would find your work credible? You would have to tell it very well. Some science fiction is more believable than the story of Noah and his incredible ark. And yet Noah's story is true. And people across the world read it, preach about it, and tell it to their kids.

Do you have an exciting story, true or fiction, which illustrates true faith at work in the life of one of God's children? Then you need to tell it. Ask God for guidance, and follow his leading step by step. Don't question your abilities. Don't worry whether you will ever be able to sell the book. No matter how ridiculous the story may seem, if it comes from God, then write it. Editing comes later. I'm sure it won't be as way out as building an ocean-going liner in the Karoo—or an ark in the Middle East.

Hebrew 11:7 (GNB) It was faith that made Noah hear God's warnings about things in the future that he could not see. He obeyed God and built a boat in which he and his family were saved.

Lord, help me to listen to you and to obey, even when I don't understand.

Shirley Corder writes from the coast of South Africa, far away from the desert. Yet she still wouldn't want to build an ark. Visit her at,  her site to encourage and inspire writers, or Rise and Soar, where she seeks to encourage and inspire those in the cancer valley. 


  1. I love the Karoo, so thank you for linking these inspiring thoughts to one of my favourite places in Africa.

  2. This was a great illustration of just believing and doing...wonderful post.
    Edge of Your Seat Romance

  3. SO you South Africans have an Outback, too!

    That must have been a wonderful sight, seeing all those animals( many of them natural enemies) obediently entering that ark. That also must have been a sign to Noah that his God was in absolute control.
    And that beautiful promise coming after the tempest, the rainbow. Thanks Shirl for the reminder of this faith-filled story.

  4. Thanks Raquel.. and yes, Rita,it would appear that your "Outback" and our "Bush" is much the same. However the Karoo is a full-out desert. Not like the sandy deserts of Egypt, but still very desolate. Yet amazingly, they rear sheep - and ostrich - with great success.

  5. Thank you, Shirl, for the reminder that if God says it, we are to "just do it" without questioning the results or worrying about the outcome. When it's His project, He takes that responsibility. We are responsible only for our obedience. (Sigh) I get hung up on the "instantaneous and unquestioning" part of what obedience needs to look like.

  6. Yes Judith, I think we all have that problem. Most of us anyway!

    Thanks for your comment, Ruth. I agree. The Karoo is so lonely, so immense, and yet so God-inspiring.

  7. Thanks for a fresh look at at Noah and our own willingness to be obedient to God.

  8. Thanks for your comment, Dale. It's always good to take a fresh look at the old stories and apply them to our own lives.