January 16, 2018

There are so many stories in the Bible of people who faced overwhelming odds and great struggles and yet through their faith they held on to hope and came out victorious to experience a meaningful life. The hard times in life seem to come when we least expect it. This is exactly what happened to Noah.  

#1 Building the Ark
You’ve probably heard the story many times, but if you’d like to go back and read the full story of Noah again, you can find it in Genesis chapters 6-9. It comes not far on the heels of the story of the Garden of Eden.  You probably remember, the Bible tells us God was weary from all the violence and wickedness on earth and decided to send a flood and to start again. God looked at Noah, a righteous man of faith who was trying to do well and instructed him to build an ark that would be the length of one and a half football fields. God told him to take his wife, three sons, and their wives on the boat. He also ordered Noah to take animals of every kind, those that fly and creep and crawl, male and female, onto the ark.  The Bible says God shut the door of the boat and the Heavens opened and it began to rain.  For forty days and forty nights it rained so hard that water covered the entire earth; even the tops of the mountains could no longer be seen.
#2 No Control of the storms
Noah obeyed God and built the ark, but even then he still couldn’t do anything to stop the storm. He also didn’t do anything to cause storm, but it rained, nonetheless and it rained hard. I believe as you and I go through life we’re often reminded that we are not really in control. The storms come and the rains blow and we can’t stop it.  We didn’t cause it and it really isn’t our fault, but those storms come anyway. There are times when all we can do is listen for God to speak and know that He is with us through the storm. 

#3 The storms don’t have to destroy us
We do still have the power to choose how we react to the storm. Will we grow and learn something from the storm or will we choose to become angry, bitter and depressed because it’s not fair? Forty days and forty nights must have seemed like forever with all that rain, lightning and thunder! Even though it stopped raining, the ark continued to be surrounded by water as far as they could see. The Bible tells us they were on the ark for a total of 150 days. There must have been times when Noah wondered if God had forgotten him. But Noah didn’t lose hope, he remained open even when he didn’t fully understand. 

The Bible tells us after a long time, Noah sent a dove out to look for land. The first time the dove returned without any signs of land, the second time it returned with an olive branch and the third time it did not return for it had found a home on land. It wasn’t long after, that the boat came to rest and God told Noah, “it’s time to open the door.”  Noah opened the door and he and his family and all the animals came out of the ark to a new beginning. God made a covenant with Noah and all of creation, vowing to never destroy life again. In Genesis 9:13 God tells us, “I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.” 

The rainbow remains a symbol of hope for all of us, a reminder that when we find ourselves in a storm or when a dark cloud seems to be following us, we can be reminded that God has not forgotten us.  The story of Noah reminds us to remain open to new possibilities, to trust and obey God’s word, for when we do we will hear God speak and begin anew in ways you might never expect.