God remembered Noah. He did not abandon him to the elements. To, almost literally, sink or swim as the saying goes.
God does not guarantee us a destination in this life. He guarantees to be with us and protect us on the difficult parts of the journey.
That God was with him through this terrible time probably did not seem like it at the time. Only in retrospect do we see that the difficult parts of the journey are necessary to arrive at a new time and place.
Neither is it clear what we are to do when we get there. Do we even know we have arrived?
The dove brought an olive twig that was a sign that the waters had receded. What did that signify?
There was nothing left of the previous life. No infrastructure, no food, no home, no neighbours to call on, no unemployment benefits, no social security, nothing of absolutely everything.
All Noah had was an olive twig. A small promise of a future. Nothing of the present.
God eventually called Noah from the Ark. He did not call him from the place of sanctuary within the Ark until it was safe for Noah and his family and all the animals to spread over the earth and be “fruitful and increase in number”.
God had taken Noah from the world that he knew to a new place. This was because of, not in spite of, the world changing events that took place.
For Noah, faith continued through the tough times. Faith was not about praying that the tough times would not happen and getting the sulks when it does not work out the way we want.
The tough times are what makes faith grow to an unbreakable relationship with God.
The first thing that Noah did was to build an altar to God. He thanked him for the delivery from the tough times and promised to continue with God into the future.
God heard this and promised not to do this to the world again.
The possible floods that are coming are unlikely to be of God’s making. Many of the calamities that are possible will be of our own making. Of our refusal to accept responsibility for the mismanagement of our resources and disregard for basic common sense.
We will, quite naturally, blame God for all the problems that we encounter. Nothing new in that. An “act of God” is always our refuge when no one cares to accept responsibility for some disaster.
Life changing events are not only possible, not only inevitable, but we must accept that they are also necessary.
We do not willingly enter into times as difficult as those Noah faced. We will weep and wail while we go through these times. We will cry “why do we need to be going through this”.
Faith is the ability to understand and seek that small olive twig of hope in all the flood waters that surround us.
That there is a future is not in doubt.
That the future does not look anything like the present is not in doubt.
That change creating enormous challenges is necessary is also not in doubt.
That this time of change has already started is beyond doubt.
How it will play out, and what it will look like is still to be determined.
Blessing to you all