It’s still October and people are putting up their Christmas trees, hoping for a little sparkle in their homes and pep in their step. Or maybe, it’s hope we are all searching for. A light at the end of this long tunnel. The rainbow after the storm.
Where is it? Where is the end to the twilight zone we are living in where children are taught virtually, the elderly haven’t been hugged in months and businesses are limping along or closing down while we wait? And what exactly is it we are waiting for?
Are you finding yourself looking out the window over and over again for the end of this year? Are you marking off the days of your calendar with the attitude of a prisoner carving notches into a stone wall? Are you beginning to lose hope and maybe your mind all whilst gaining weight and frustration?
Most of us know the story of Noah and the ark he fashioned at the instructions of God. How he and his family loaded themselves up and when the door closed, they found themselves in the darkness of that boat, quarantined, and outnumbered by animals and all that that entails.
I think there are a few things things we can take away from this story that might help us in this season so I thought I would post one a day over the next five days. My hope is that we see a little of ourselves in this story and ultimately, feel more comfortable loosening our grip on the fear of the unknowns and leave our hands open to whatever the Lord has for us.
- God is still in control. In Genesis 7 we read that once Noah, his family, and the animals were all loaded up, God shut the door behind them. “The animals going in were male and female of every living thing, as God had commanded Noah. Then the Lord shut him in.” (Genesis 7:16 NIV) Once everything was in place, the Lord hemmed them in. Though Noah trusted the Lord, I have to believe he took a wide-eyed gulp when that enormous wooden door cracked and creeked shut and settled in locked. Even though God is always good, it’s natural to be a little anxious about what’s coming next. Lord, thank you that even with the unknowns, you have us all in your hand.
- We never know what’s going on behind closed doors. I always imagined Noah and his family inside that structure hunkering down for who knows how long, going who knows where. They would have to divvy up responsibilities amongst each other and work together to keep their new home running. After a while, the stench of the animals would have to build and the logistics of living in tight quarters with their immediate family, would begin to effect how they interacted with one another. Any of this sounding familiar? Day after day, week after week…stuck. Think about it. Now, more than ever, we have no idea the pressures mounding inside homes and company boardrooms. Lord, help us be gentle with each other.
- It’s good to look to the future with anticipation. When the rains quit after 40 days, you can bet Noah was anxious to get out and be done with it all. But scripture tells us that once the rained stopped, it was another 150 days of rising waters…then another 150 days of winds to dry things out. That’s nearly an entire year! And it’s here that Noah can begin to test the waters so to speak before exiting. He sent out a raven. Then a dove. Then the dove again, He was eager to get out of the boat! Any of this sounding familiar? While patience is a virtue and something to be mindful of, it’s okay to be eager. To watch expectantly for the page to turn. Lord, help us to remain hopeful while we wait.
- Things may never look like the used to. As the family exited the ark, they had no idea where they were. When the earth is underwater for a solid year, things shift….and the view we once had through our blinds will look different when we are more able to emerge from our homes. When we begin to transition out of this season, the things we used to rely on for a frame of reference may no longer be there. Businesses, marriages and even loved ones may now be defunct, broken or deceased. In some areas of our lives, we may be looking at a new beginning. And this time of isolation and slower schedules is our time to build our faith in preparation. Lord, help us look to you for our center as you are the same yesterday, today and always.
- God is still good. Once their feet were on dry ground, Noah immediately built an altar to the Lord. After a solid year inside the ark, he knew that he only survived because of the goodness of God. Lord, help us carry a spirit of thanksgiving and a renewed hope for our future.
This boat we are all in has brought loss along with a renewed sense that life is precious. I imagine, when the door opens and our eyes adjust to whatever is waiting on the other side of this season, we’ll be carrying the burdens and lessons that came with it all. My prayer is that we will take time to connect one on one, listen to each other’s stories, and give ourselves time to grief what we lost. And as we step out, having learned much about ourselves and those around us, we will ask the Lord what’s next with open hands and an expectant spirit.
I can hear the winds blowing. Changes are coming. Let us continue to love God and love people no matter what the landscape looks like when we emerge from this season.
Tell me something good that has come out of this season for you in the comments!