My church has just begun a women's study and we are reading the book Seamless by Angie Smith. Can I just say... I am loving it so far! I highly recommend this study for anyone. It basically walks you through the Bible chronologically to help connect the dots as to how each story fits together. Can we all just sit here for a minute and thank God for His Word? How amazing is it that the stories written long ago- brand new or familiar- can still awaken our hearts in fresh ways and meet us exactly where we are today!
In the past couple of weeks, we entered in to the story of Noah and the Ark, which for some of us, is one of those "I've heard this so many times before" types of stories. But low and behold, it still strikes a chord. I loved how the author of Seamless asks this question: What impacted you most about this story?
What struck me most was the thought of water pounding so hard against the earth from so many angles, that it wiped out everything in sight. This was a result of God’s wrath against sin—not humanity itself, as He fought to preserve it—but sin. How frightening would it have been to witness this type of phenomenon?
I couldn’t help but relate this flood to trials we currently face in life. Have you ever felt like the ground you were standing on was slipping out from under your feet? Have you ever felt like everything was changing at such a rapid pace that you couldn’t catch your breath? Recently, I faced a trial like this that felt a bit like an unsteady rainstorm. This trial wasn’t necessarily “nuclear flood” level, such as the one in Noah’s story, but still, it was scary. It felt like I needed God’s help in a very real way. I felt like I was standing knee deep in water with a dark sky enveloping around me, while I searched with squinted eyes for shelter to run to for relief. In these types of moments, where is our perspective? Do we believe God has a plan and a purpose for us and our family? Do we believe He has provided safety? Do we believe He can use this trial to cleanse us from sin and bring good?
I think we must view the Old Testament through the lens of the New Testament because Jesus, after all, changed everything. God offered Noah the ark to preserve his life because of his righteousness. Genesis 7:1 says, “The LORD then said to Noah, ‘Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation.’” Those of us who know Christ are now also considered righteous because of our faith (Romans 5:1-2). Thank God my righteousness does not depend on my own efforts; but rests solely on my belief in what Jesus did for us on the cross! Therefore, like Noah, we can count on having access to shelter, safety, and eternal hope in the arms of God, during good times and bad.
At times it might feel like our whole world is being uprooted in a flood of doubt, insecurity, financial burden, failing relationships, poor health, etc. Sometimes we can feel like we are waiting for what seems like an eternity for relief. Noah watched as the waters flooded and swelled the earth for 150 days! I wonder what he thought and felt as the ark rocked back and forth and he couldn’t see what God had planned next. Thankfully, we possess refuge in the shelter of God Himself through Jesus Christ- a shelter more powerful than any other. On top of it, He is always accessible to us. I’m reminded of the powerfully comforting account of Jesus calming a storm for his disciples.
That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm
Friends, will you join me in praising God for always providing safety for us through the storms of life? Whether physical, emotional, or spiritual provision, He is always looking out for us and giving us His best protection, even if we can’t see it in the moment. Will you join me in praising God for using challenges that sometimes feel like "floods" to refine us and cleanse us from our shortcomings? Let’s thank Him that trials can help shift our focus to His will for us and urge us to be more obedient and sanctified. Finally, let’s thank Him that Jesus is our ever-present refuge from the storms we have faced, are facing, and will face!
What “storms” or hardships are you experiencing right now? Are you witnessing or allowing God to refine you to be more like Christ through this hardship? Are you seeking shelter in the safety of Jesus, or are you looking elsewhere for comfort?
Our God is the God of beautiful creations, and He ended this chapter in Noah’s life with a rainbow set glistening across the clearing sky. This sign symbolized the promise that God’s love conquers all, in Him we have endless hope, and that sin will never be the end of the story for those who believe. Let us cling to this promise and remember we have a God who specifically looks over each of us on our brightest days, as well as in our darkest hours.
"For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him."
-2 Chronicles 16:9
"Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God."