“Noah was six hundred years old when the floodwaters came on the earth.” ~ Genesis 7:6
When a natural disaster strikes, it’s hard not to watch the news coverage. Hurricanes, tornado, earthquakes, wildfires, tsunamis, floods. They are humbling reminders of the power of nature. Often with very little warning, people flee from their homes with little more than what they can carry or cram into a car. They are forced to leave the rest of their lives behind knowing there is a strong likelihood it will be gone when the danger passes and they are allowed to return.
Last week we looked at the story of Job who had to begin again because God allowed Satan to test his faithfulness. This week we are going to look at Noah’s story which is an interesting contrast. While disaster strikes Job because of his faithfulness, Noah, and his family, are warned of and rescued from a great disaster because of his faithfulness.
Noah’s story is found in the book of Genesis right at the very beginning of the Bible starting in chapter six. He lived in a time where humanity had forgotten the importance of worshiping and honoring God and God determined it was time to start over. So he decided to send a flood to wipe out all the wickedness of the earth. And in all the earth, only Noah and his family were found to have remained faithful to God. Because of this faithfulness, God provided a way for them to survive the coming flood.
An ark was built, animals came, Noah and his family boarded, and the earth was flooded. All creatures, human and animal, who relied on dry ground for survival perished.
I want to invite you to take a moment and think about what those first days on the Ark must have been like. What must it have been like to see all the animals come peacefully forward and settle in for the journey? Try to imagine what you might have been feeling as you closed and sealed the doors. Or what it was like to hear the first raindrops hit the roof. Eventually your friends and neighbors realize the rains are not stopping and the only way to hope to survive is by getting onto the Ark so there are likely people shouting, begging, and pleading to be allowed onto the Ark. And then, eventually, it goes silent as the waters continue to rise. You know no one else on earth is alive.
As you sit with your family, the boat rocking as it bobs in the waves, what are you feeling? What are thinking about? In what ways are you praising God? What questions do you have for God? Who have you lost and are now grieving? What do you miss the most from before the rains?
In total, Noah and his family had around a year to spend on the Ark. The 40 days we so often talk about was just the initial rain and flooding. Ask anyone from IA/NE border this past summer about how long it takes flood waters to recede. It doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a long time. Noah and his family had to wait for the waters to recede and be able leave the safety of the Ark to start a new life.
Noah and his family had to begin again with no help or support from any other human because there were no other humans left on the earth. They had all been wiped out in the flood. Often when we find ourselves having to begin again, there is someone there to help us, someone who has been through something similar before. But for Noah, there was no one else.
Eventually, Noah, his family, and the animals disembark to begin their new lives in a world which was starting over. The first thing Noah does when he is able to once again stand on dry land? He prepares an altar and a sacrifice of thanks to God for bringing them safely through the flood. He starts off on the right foot, by acknowledging God’s provision.
I’m hoping you never find yourself starting over because of a natural disaster. But if you do, I hope you realize that not all is lost. You have your life and faith. You have people to surround you and help you rebuild what was lost. God placed a rainbow in the sky as a symbol of his promise to Noah that never again would he destroy the earth in such a manner. Next time you are lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a rainbow in the sky, I encourage you to remember the promises God has made to you and give thanks for the storms he has already brought you safely through.
A natural disaster which has been on the hearts of the IOLBC staff in a special way are the wildfires burning in Australia in the last couple of months. Please be praying for the staff alumni and their families who live in Australia. If you would like to know more about the extent of the fires, click HERE. If you would like to know more about what you can do to help, click HERE.
A recent natural disaster which is closer to home is the flooding of eastern Nebraska and western Iowa in the spring and summer of 2019. Please continue to be in prayer for our neighbors as they look towards the spring and summer of 2020. Pray especially for those who lost homes or businesses as they look to rebuild and begin again in the continued aftermath of the flooding.
Noah listened to God and so was able to prepare a way for his family to safely survive the flood waters. While God does provide instantly and miraculously, God also asks us to prepare and be ready for what may be ahead. How are you prepared to help your family survive should disaster strike? How is God calling you to be prepared? How do you balance being prepared and trusting God to take care of your needs?
Want to see the Ark come to life? We recently took our Travel Camp program to visit the Ark Encounter and they gave it 2 thumbs up! Check out more information about it by clicking HERE.