2-6-23 The Blessed Flood Waters

This week’s reading: Genesis 7:17-24

Hi Friends, 

     We read last week that Noah obeyed everything God had commanded him to do. The Ark was built. All the required supplies were stocked up. And all the animals came and were on board too. As Noah and his little family settled into the Ark, “Then the Lord shut him in.” (Gen 7:16) I mentioned that this was not man’s plan or work here. This was ordained by God and was intended to rescue Creation from the evil sin of mankind. God’s desire was, and still is, to preserve the goodness that He had created. Remember, before The Downfall, God saw all He made and it was good and very good. Yet mankind chose, and still chooses, to go our own way and destruction was, and still is, the result. Notice all the “still’s” in my words? Human nature has not changed. We still want to do things our own way. Still think we know better than God. Still want to rule over our own lives…and if I am being honest, we want to rule over the lives of those around us too. Yet are we God? Do we have the wisdom, resources, patience even, to do this? We all must come to the truth that, alone we cannot manage our own lives, much less that of others. We need God, period, exclamation point! And this Flood is God’s way of showing them then, and us now, that He will work with what He is given. But if we give Him nothing, then He must take charge to work the wrongs together for the good of those that do choose to love Him. So God takes the one human that seeks God and begins, once again, creating Humanity. Listen to these words:

     “Every living thing that moved on the earth perished – birds, livestock, wild animals, all the creatures that swarm over the earth, and all mankind. Everything on dry land that had the breath of life in its nostrils died. Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out; men and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds of the air were wiped from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark. The waters flooded the earth for a hundred and fifty days.” Gen 7:21-24 NIV

     Every living thing that moved. I do not want us to miss this point: this was not an easy decision for God to make. He spent much time, energy and love creating this world and all the creatures and humans upon it. And He patiently waited for mankind to come to their senses and seek Him and His Holy Way. After about 1556 years, (see link below for timeline) God turned to the only man that was “blameless among the people of his time,” and proclaimed His righteous judgment on this world. Did you get that? About 1556 years! Now that is a patient God! You see, one of the Character traits of our God is “slow to anger.” God gives humans opportunity after opportunity to repent, turning away from our selfish and disobedient ways and towards His Selfless and Gracious Love. But if we continually dismiss Him, if we ignore all the chances God allows for us to humble our hearts? Then He must, for the good of Humanity in general, as well as His Name’s sake, do something. He would not be a Good God if He didn’t. Do we see this? Some of the circumstances that we call trials and tribulations, God allows exactly for this purpose: for us to see His Goodness. To turn us from MMI towards the true Love and Abundant Life He desires for us. This certainly is my story. For 33 years, I knew “about” God, but I certainly did not live for God. My life was my own and I was going to run it whichever way I chose. Despite growing up with depression and an unfulfilling existence, I still did not surrender myself to this God Who loves me more than I can ever fathom. It took a “flood” of my own in order for me to finally realize, I had been living the wrong way. When my daughter, Rebecca, was diagnosed with brain cancer, and then fell into the first of many comatose states, the torrent of sorrow and pain and fear and confusion and…oh my Friends, the flood of emotional, mental and spiritual terror brought me to the safety of the Love of Christ. God locked me in Jesus, just as securely as He locked Noah and his little family into that Ark. And as the rains kept pouring down with one crisis after the next in my Baby Girl’s life, God continued to raise me up so that I would survive, and then thrive, in spite of the natural disaster. It took God drawing me in so powerfully to His Presence. It took my heart breaking in two. It took me dying to myself to see my own sinfulness, and finally to repentance. God is a Patient God, but for our own good, He will move mountains to call us into the blessed relationship He designed us to have, enjoy and share with Him and others. Every living thing that moves on this planet died because humans refused to yield to the rightful authority of God over their lives. So God had to save the one little family that did seek Him. 

     Forty days and forty nights. God allowed for “all the springs of the great deep [to] burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens” to open up, pouring torrential rains upon this earth. (Gen 7:11) Have you ever been in a situation that felt the same way? It seems like the storms will never stop. But just as they did for Noah, so too they will for us. Our part is to stay safe and secure in our Ark, Jesus. He will get us through anything. Just as God lifted Noah’s Ark as the waters increased, as high as 20 ft above the mountains so that it could float safely, so too God will continue to lift us up above the hard things that are trying to drown us. Again, this was my experience throughout Beckie’s trials. For seven and a half years, my Baby Girl suffered, what I call, one horrendous miracle after the other. Horrendous because they were all horrific. Miracles because as a pharmacist, I know she should not have survived one of those crisis, much less the dozens of life-threatening events she endured. The more “rain” came into her sweet little life, the higher God would lift us into His Love and Grace. Love so that we could be assured that He had Beckie safely in His Eternal hands. Grace because we did not deserve any of the countless blessings that came our way through it all. God still seeks to keep those who seek Him safe in the Ark of Christ’s Saving work, as well as lifted high above the challenging mountains that have the potential to kill, steal and destroy us. This is, after all, the agenda of our number one enemy. All day, every day, the devil and his cohorts try to kill our peace, steal our joy and destroy our witness. Yet as we stay, as we remain, as we abide in the Lord, Jesus instead offers to grant us life and life in abundance. (Jn 10:10) Even in the midst of the scariest storms, even when the seas are raging and growing higher around us, even when mountains try to run us ashore, being locked in the Ark of Jesus will carry us surely to dry ground. This of course does not mean we will not sense the storm. It does not mean we will not experience some worry or apprehension. It does not even mean we will not get hit by a mountain or two along the way. But it does mean, in Christ, we will be alright. Whether in this world or the next, Jesus will safely get us to our destination. But this forty days and forty nights tells us there is a limit to how long we will have to experience all these trials and tribulations. The rains will stop, this we can be sure of. With my Baby Girl, that meant going Home to Heaven. With me, it continues to mean growing in Christ and using everything that has happened- the good, the bad and the ugly- to lift others up to Jesus, so they too can enter the Ark and be locked in for all Time in Him. Eventually, all those who enter into Him will arrive safely at our final destination, and join my Beckie wholly worshipping the God Whose Love and Grace are the only Source that opens up Heaven and Eternal Life for us. She has gone before me, and my heart aches to see her and be with her again, but in the meantime, I cry with Hope as I live abundantly for the God Who makes The Way through every storm.

     The waters flooded the earth for a hundred and fifty days. While the storm continued for forty days and forty nights, The Flood continued a lot longer. It is estimated that Noah, his little family and all of the animals lived in that Ark for a little over a year. Can you imagine!?! What kept them going? It was Faith alone that helped Noah know God would eventually make the lands dry again. There was no physical evidence of this. All around them was water, water and more water. God did not give Noah a timeline as far as we know. God said He was going to bring judgment on mankind by bringing forth the rains and establish His covenant with Noah, but God did not say anything about when, or even if, the waters would recede. I think about the years we endured my Baby Girl’s ordeals, I think about the 15 years since she passed away, I think about so many other “waters” that are still all around me and I too do not know when relief will come. Like Noah, I must continue to do what I know I should be doing and learn to trust God with the rest. You see, these continuing “waters,” that is the trials that keep on going on, year after year, they are not meant to drown us. God has already saved us from death and eternal destruction in Christ. These ongoing challenges are meant to grow our Faith though. It is one thing to trust God when our problems are solved and solved quickly. It is a whole other level of Faith to keep on trusting when you do not have your prayers answered the way you want them to be, and nothing seems to be changing. This is the Faith that is enduring. It can endure whatever comes. It can endure the hard times as we learn to work with God, as He works all things together for our good. Romans 8:28. This verse continues to be one of the rocks of my foundation of Faith. I try to imagine Noah and his little family taking care of all those animals on the Ark. Learning to do that which God had originally called humans to do, to have dominion over the creatures as they cared, enjoyed and displayed God’s Love towards them all. Even in the midst of The Flood, they were to be fruitful and multiply. It was the lengthy time in that Ark, after the rains stopped, that served to grow them and deepen their Faith in God. Some use trials to do this. Others misuse and misunderstand them and get angry and bitter towards God. I wonder where Ham’s heart was during all of this? We will get to that in a couple of weeks, but it is interesting to see the different character traits between Noah’s three sons. My point is, we must pay attention to how we allow the difficult things to affect and infect us as well. The purpose of these continued high waters is to grow us. They are to benefit us. They are to transform us more and more into the image of God, our original nature. Let’s choose to allow God to use these trials to cleanse us from our old, MMI person we used to be, and move us towards acting more and more like the New Person we now are in Jesus, our Ark.

     The Ark and The Flood. I do hope we are seeing this beautiful event with different eyes now. Yes, it is about a circumstance that happened 1000’s of years ago. But yes, we can learn practical lessons from every incident in the Bible, so we can apply them to our own life for our good and the good of those around us. First with the storms and rising waters, God must capture our attention and hearts. Second with the ongoing Flood, He must cleanse us from the patterns that keep us living the MMI life. Thus He must allow trials to transform our broken, yet prideful hearts, into His Immaculate and Humble Character. Don’t fear the storms, my Friends, fear instead the God Who cannot allow sin, wickedness and evil to continue. (see Mt 10:28) Surrender to Him. Enter the Ark of Jesus. Work with Him to allow the floodwaters to continue to cleanse you and transform you more and more, into the image God originally created us to reflect, then encourage others to come into the Ark as well. I know every time I follow this lovely plan, my life becomes more and more wonderfully abundant. Want that? Then won’t you join me?

     Until we meet again, keep lifting your eyes to God, He’s closer than you think.

<>< Peace, Diane

Answers in Genesis