One of our favorite Bible stories that we like to tell to kids is Noah and the Ark. We even have an amazing, colorful mural in our nursery. The mural is about one of our favorite parts of the story: when creation appears again and all the animals and Noah’s family can leave the ark. I love this part of the story, rainbow and all. We also all know that it rained for 40 days and 40 nights; we know that the animals came ‘two by two’ and for a few clean animals ‘seven by seven’. So perhaps it isn’t surprising that we miss some of the other details in the middle of the story.
For instance, do you know:
How long the waters covered the earth? 150 days; that is, 5 months—the length of a Michigan winter
Do you know what it says about God and Noah after that? “But God remembered Noah and all the…..animals”…Remembered?
Did you know that after the waters began to recede they still had to wait a number of weeks, even months, before the land could sustain them and they could leave the ark?
I find these details amazing and somewhat reassuring, because they reflect certain times in our own lives. Sometimes things in our lives turn grey and difficult. Sometimes it feels like we are surrounded by too many demands (hungry animals) and too much mess to clean up (fill in your own words here 😊). And these times in our lives don’t just last for a night or a day. Sometimes they last for a “looong” time, as they did for Noah, his family and the animals. And sometimes in the midst of these really hard times, it even feels like God has forgotten about us.
But here at the beginning of Lent, at the end of February; here at the beginning of March and the approaching Easter season, I want to remind all of us that God ALWAYS shows up. God was never really absent, but sometimes God seems hidden to us. So we need reminding that God shows up. God reclaims his creation; God loves us. God establishes light in our darkness; God loves us. God cleans up the mess; God loves us. God gives us a good place, a good time once again. God loves us Because of that faithful, constant divine love, the hard stuff--in this sinful, broken world--lasts only for a time; eventually joy returns.
So, as we wait for God’s new creation, God’s mighty act in our lives, we need to continue as Noah did—tending to family, caring for God’s creation, cleaning up the messes, feeding the hungry, solving the problems of the day, and helping each other so that no one goes through their ‘flood’ times alone. We need to gather as Noah did daily, to worship God, to give each other a helping hand, to have our own hardships eased. We need to gather, remember, and believe—God’s got this; God always shows up.