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Keeping Our Head Above Water

For forty days the flood kept coming on the earth, and as the waters increased they lifted the ark high above the earth. The waters rose and increased greatly on the earth, and the ark floated on the surface of the water. They rose greatly on the earth, and all the high mountains under the entire heavens were covered. The waters rose and covered the mountains to a depth of more than fifteen cubits. (Genesis 7:17-20 NIV)

My spirit has been led of late to the subject of storms – what they look like, the different types of storms that we encounter, and how we get through them. As God would have it, we have been examining the early chapters of Genesis during our current session of Bible Study, and there is no better example of a great storm than the flood that God brought over all the earth in chapters 6-8 of Genesis.

This particular flood came because God was upset with the amount of wickedness on the earth; this flood was tremendous in its physical proportions – as the excerpt above suggests – but the storm was really just a means of spiritually cleansing the earth and starting over. The storms that hit our lives will come for lots of different reasons. There are the “physical” storms – like Hurricane Irene that struck New England this summer, or the tsunamis that have ravaged Japan and parts of southeast Asia in recent years – but there are also emotional, spiritual, and psychological storms, as we all struggle through the grief of lost loved ones, the heartbreak of broken relationships, or the frustrations of unmet expectations in our life.

As we consider the subject of storms, this excerpt from Genesis 7 strikes me for two reasons: 1) the awesome sight that Noah must have witnessed; 2) the abundance of God’s love that preserved Noah and those on the ark in the midst of this awesome sight.

In terms of the awesome sight that Noah witnessed, keep in mind that we are talking about rain that came and did not stop for forty days! It rained quite heavily this past Friday night, which made for a wet commute to and from church, a wet walk in and out of places, and a more treacherous drive through the streets of Cambridge and Medford where I was preaching at revival. I imagined to myself: What if this rain kept going tomorrow, the next day, and for another thirty-seven days after that? Would the floods begin? How high would the water rise? At what point might I need to consider making my way to an ark?

Verse twenty of this passage suggests that the waters reached over twenty-five feet in the air (one “cubit” equals about twenty inches), and we know that for the waters to rise so high that they even covered over the tops of the mountains it was even more than that! This sight must have been awesome but also tremendously frightening to Noah and his family. Yet in the midst of that awesome wonder, we are also told that God provided for the ones that he had chosen: as the waters rose, so did the ark! If the waters were twenty-five feet in the air, then the ark must have been at least twenty-six feet!

This passage teaches us that in the midst of our storm, God will provide for us. Sometimes we just have to thank and praise God for keeping our head above water, for making sure that if our storm has pushed the waters high, that God keeps us just a little bit higher. We may be scared sometimes; we may get tired of swimming; we may wonder whether or not we are going to make it. But we must place our faith in God, who chooses us for great tasks just like He chose Noah to save a remnant of creation; and we must believe that if God has chosen us, then God will take care of us, even through the storm.

Oh God, help me to trust in you as I go through the storms of life. Even as the waters rise ever higher and higher, keep my head above water, and my mind and heart at peace.

Prayer focus for the week: increasing our spiritual stamina.

Posted in Pastor's Blog.

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  1. Deaconess Debra Allen says

    When I was in High School I was in a West Side Story play/musical. Your blog Rev.Ford, reminds me of the time, when I sang solo the song, “When You Walk Alone, Hold Your Head Up High…” I was so nervous on performance day at my school. I thought of how God shed His Grace on my Mom the day I was born. It was on a very stormy day that she said that she birthed me. You see, throughout the storm Mom was able to remember so vividly her birthing process with me, that was never a joy that she was afforded with any of her other children-live or miscarried! No matter good or bad the situation or storm God is there for us. He prepares us and takes care of us. We need to trust Him to put us somewhat above the circumstance(s) of fear and doubt. So, at about the age of 10, my Mom bundled me up to face the elements of what I thought at that age was the worst wind and rain storm ever-to go food shopping for the family! My sister usually went with me, weekly grocery shopping, she was sick! Dad was home on his day off and he was sick! Mom was coughing with a bad cold, she was sick! But,she was doctoring up on my brother who was-you guessed it… sick! Every family member was sick! So as Mom tied a scarf around my neck, she said, “Hold your head up and watch where you are going out there, God will be with you!. The wind howled; tree limbs, leaves and branches were strewn throughout the street and sidewalks; storm clouds casted off hues of green, gray, black and blue. Like so many times before I spotted my Mom in our bedroom window watching out for me. I rounded the corner into my projects where we lived. I was returning carrying two big handled soaking rain wet bags of the family groceries. I had made it! And with more than just one set of watchful, spiritual Eyes. God, had put something in me that he wanted me to realize. When I can persevere through the hard times, I can count on the Lord and others can have the faith and relationship with God to do the same.
    So, back to that High School musical-I have always cherished that special experience to sing solo that wonderful song-“When You Walk Through A Storm.” Thank You Dear Lord For Loving Me, And Supporting Me Through All My Storms In My Life-For I Know They Draw Me Closer To You!

    Love, Peace And Joy! (Oh yeah, Hold your head up before you bump into something!-SMILE)

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