After the flood, Noah and his family heard from God. After shock and grief and struggle, after being quartered—quarantined—with their closest relatives and all the animals they could gather on a boat of their own making, and with nowhere to dock for weeks and weeks, they heard from God.
Wherever we are in our stories, whether we are laying in whatever we need to be prepared, wondering if we can survive the storm, waiting for word that things have changed, or catching a breath for what seems like the first time in forever, we are somewhere on the same journey Noah’s family took. If we are standing on the shore, grateful to be on dry land and relieved that the world is steady beneath us, we know how it felt for them on the day when the waters had finally receded. The world as they knew it had ended.
Be it epidemic, natural disaster, or even the comparatively ordinary losses we know logically must come in life, there is a moment in the cycle of horrified recognition when we wonder why God has let this terrible thing happen. In Noah’s case, the parameters are clear. The people, God’s own people, have fallen into such sin that even God cannot imagine redemption and instead reboots the human experiment.
Our lives may be in such a moment; the world as we know it changed beyond recognition. For today, let’s stand with Noah and his wife and children on the dry land. We will not forget what has been lost or the things that changed us. Our hope is grounded in this new covenant, this bow in the clouds. After the flood, Noah and his family heard from God, and God promised it would never happen again.
Loving God, in this world of sorrows and struggles, we give thanks for your promises and we place our hope in you. Amen.
The season of Lent is now upon us, a time of inward examination that begins on Ash Wednesday. We search ourselves and ask God to search us, so that we can follow God more completely. This examination, however, can become a cause for despair if we do not approach it with God’s everlasting mercy and faithfulness in mind. Although the Flood was a result of judgment, God also saved the faithful and established a covenant with them. The psalmist seeks to learn God’s ways, all the while realizing that he has fallen short and must rely on God’s grace. For Christians, baptism functions as a symbol of salvation and a reminder of God’s covenant faithfulness—not because the water is holy but because God is holy and merciful.
Read Genesis 9:8-17. When have you, after a season of loss, experienced new life? What was the sign of that new life?
Read Psalm 25:1-10. How are you experiencing God’s steadfast love and faithfulness in your life? How do you offer thanks?
Read 1 Peter 3:18-22. When have you sacrificed something for the sake of someone else?
Read Mark 1:9-15. Recall a “wilderness” experience in your own life. What helped you to move through that experience? What were the spiritual gifts of that experience?
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