Afraid of a Flood

Afraid of a Flood

I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Genesis 9:13

As a child, I remember being terrified of a catastrophic flood – a fear which was likely prompted by Sunday School stories of Noah and the ark. To my four-year-old mind, a cataclysmic deluge seemed like a high probability with every spring rainstorm. I expressed this fear to my Dad, who showed me that my hometown was built on a hill and that it would never flood. I don’t know that I was convinced of his explanation as much as I was by his confidence and promise. I believed in him, and so I never worried about a flood again.

Today’s passage contains some similarities to my childhood experience. In the story, Noah and his family had just survived a worldwide deluge. God had their attention. In his wrath, he’d just killed everything and everyone on Earth. Was this going to be a new pattern? If they failed to obey God, would he wipe them out too? God, in response to their fears, caused a rainbow to form in the sky, indicating that it was a sign of his promise to them, that he would never do this again. They knew and trusted God and so, they believed him.

What’s the lesson for me? My fear of a coming flood was about my fear of death – mine and my families. My parents promised I didn’t need to worry about that, and I believed them because they were my entire world at the time. They’d wholly invested in a relationship with me and I in them. Because they said it, I believed.

We can and should have this same relationship with God. When he says, I will never leave you nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5), we should trust him. When he says, for those who love God all things work together for good (Romans 8:28), we should believe him. Still, we’re skeptical and so we forge our own path. We have our own ideas of how things should work out and we sometimes doubt that God’s interests really align with our own. Frankly, considering some of our circumstances, it’s difficult to believe God is working everything out for our good. This requires a lot of faith, and it requires us to daily invest in our relationship with him. Like it was with me and my parents, the closer we are to God, the easier it is to believe, embracing his infinite perspective. That proximity though, is up to us. God is always there, seeking us. Daily, it’s our job to pursue our relationship with him, choosing to trust in his eternal promises.

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