It’s so amazing to me how timely God’s word is! I know many of you are dealing with the aftermath and flooding of Hurricane Matthew*. I know others who are going through or are dealing with the aftermath of other horrid storms of life. Have you seen any rainbows?
Rainbows have become so much more beautiful to me. They are a sign of love and hope, and they remind us that we can trust God’s promises. After the flood, God acknowledged the sinful nature of man (Gen 8:21), yet He loved us. He even validated our value and worth to Himself despite our sinfulness (vs 22). He sent the rainbow as a promise – a promise that floodwaters would never again fill the earth and wipe out man; but to me the promise runs deeper. It is a sign of God’s love, of His decision to accept us as we are and to not give up on us. His decision to love us despite our wicked hearts. It also reminds me of His plan. You know He has a plan. He will not leave us in this wicked state forever. He has sent a redeemer, and He will come for us again. What hope! What love! What a remarkable love note in the sky.
Today I pray that God will send rainbows in your clouds that you may be reminded of His love, that you may have hope, and that your faith may grow.
*This post was originally written on October 9, 2016, during Hurricane Matthew.
I am not very good at waiting. Patience is a virtue that God is still working in my heart. Noah did an awful lot of waiting. He waited for rain, then he waited for the storms to stop, then to see the tops of mountains, then for the land to be dry enough to exit the ark and so on.
He waited and waited and waited. The Bible doesn’t say much about what He did or thought while He waited. Did he question, doubt, or wonder? Or, did he have complete faith that God was who He said He was and that He would do what He said He would do?
That’s one thing I have learned through scripture and life, God always keeps His promises. One of my favorite promises that I’ve seen Him keep time and again is found in Matthew 28, just before ascending to heaven, Jesus said, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” And in John 14:1-3 He said, “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In my Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go prepare a place for you, I will come again. And receive you to Myself, that where I am there you may be also.” Wow! What a promise! What hope! What excitement.
Like Noah, you may be facing a real storm today. Maybe you are hunkered down. Maybe you are eagerly awaiting word to hear how your town, your home made it through the gales and surges of Hurricane Matthew*. Maybe you are floating on the stormy waters of another kind of storm – one that seems to last forever. Whatever the case, do not lose hope. God is with you and He will not leave you.
*This was originally written on October 8, 2016, while Hurricane Matthew was making landfall in the U.S.
Have you ever really read the account of the flood in the Bible? If not, you should. You might find a few things missing compared to the stories you’ve heard growing up. Sure, some of these things can be inferred, but as I approached this passage from a new lens, seeking the character of God, a passage I thought would be clear-cut suddenly became muddy.
What happens when we read the Bible and find things weren’t as we thought? We prayerfully study and seek understanding, and we hold fast to the things we know.
God cares for us – we see this in the fact that in His grief, God did not wipe out man entirely. He provided an escape for Noah and His family to preserve man-kind. He loves us just as much now.
God cares for all His creation – He could have forgotten about the animals, started over again with that part of creation, but no. Wether it was for man and his enjoyment or simply His own care for the animals, God sustained them as well. Care for all of His creation is still important today.
God always provides a way out – the ultimate Salvation is found in Jesus Christ. This is the sweetest gift and the most precious show of love ever.
This morning I was struggling a bit, searching and seeking the heart of God in these passages, but I found myself filled with question after question and few answers. Why did God create man if He knew what would happen? Was His heartache even greater than He thought it would be? How could He wish to destroy mankind? How bad must things have gotten?
Then, it started making sense. Adoption and foster care have been on my mind and heart for as long as I can remember. It is a topic that often comes up in our home. Inevitably, the conversation somehow ends up on the trauma that some of these kids have faced. Some of these kids have deep, deep scars, thick walls and coping mechanisms that are frightening to deal with. I hear wonderful stories of transformation where adoption has totally changed a child, giving him or her the love, stability, and help they needed. But not all the stories are happy. I also hear stories of families that have been torn apart in major ways, parents and children who have suffered so much. Most look back and say they wish they would have known more. Some regret their decision to adopt, but most love their child so deeply, they wish things could have been different, but this is their child and they will love him/her no matter the choices they make. Yet their hearts break, and they suffer much.
I picture God as an adoptive father. He was not naive to fact that these children would make some bad choices, and over time these choices would affect generation after generation and the picture would not be a pretty one. He understood the severity of the problem. Yet, He loved man so much, even knowing what He was getting into, He moved forward with His creation, with His plan, and ultimately His adoption of the human race.
Things were bad. God’s heart was broken. He knew something had to happen, but still, as always, He would give His children a choice. He loved them so much that He would let them chose a way out.
No matter what you’ve done. No matter where you are in life, know that it is no surprise to God. He chose you and He loves you and He wants to offer you a way out too.
Dissappointment. Jealously. This is where it all began. It’s so easy to look at the story of Cain and Able and understand why Cain was so discouraged after joyfully coming before God and giving Him the very best of all His hard work, only to find it rejected. How disappointing. What must have been running through his head about himself, his worth and God’s love for him.
Yet, there is much to learn of our Savior here, much we can learn about our own worth in Him.
As Samuel said to Saul after offering another misguided sacrifice, God does not require sacrifice, but obedience. The sacrificial system was set in place that man may understand the seriousness of sin and understand the salvation that was coming. It was a sacred system of pure sorrow melded with unwavering hope. These lessons, these sweet truths, were what God longed for Cain to have. I can imagine that God was proud of Cain’s labors and excited that he was so willing to give of his hard work, yet such a sacrifice would not produce the fruit God wished to grow in Cain’s heart.
As Cain’s frustration and jealousy grew, he did the unthinkable. Cain became the first murder. Again, God’s heart broke. It broke over the loss of Able. It broke for the loss for Adam and Eve. It broke for Cain and his confused and wounded spirit.
Despite it all, God continued to extend tremendous love to Cain. His love for Cain was not spilled out and emptied on that bloody field. There were consequences for his choices, yet God protected Cain. He continued to extend His love to His wayward son. Cain remained loved as his value was not in his sacrifice, but in who he was – a son of the King.
May I always remember these lessons of God’s love and care, the importance of obedience and my value because I know no matter what happens, God’s love will never die.
Innocence. It’s the thing we long for for our children. This world can be so cruel and we wish they not have to see some of the ugliest and cruelest of things. It’s refreshing in our crazy world to find children who are still children and adults who have not become calloused by brutal and ugly events in their lives.
This was not God’s plan. He longed that we would remain unscathed by the wicked ways of the devil. And that path was simple. Adam and Eve were given everything – ultimate freedom. Only one thing was off limits. That one thing was too enticing to resist and oh, it cost so much, too much. It was not worth it.
I can imagine God’s heart breaking as parents of today who watch their children make choices, bad choices, choices that rob them unnecessarily of innocence, joy and happiness. It’s enough to break my heart, and I’m sure I only understand a piece of how God’s heart broke that day.
But, the beauty of our LORD shines through. He did not reject His children. He did not abandon them. True. They could no longer live in the garden, where they would have access to the tree of life, but He could not bear to be separated from them forever. Yet He knew they were now marred with sin and sin cannot dwell in His presence. He made a plan. He immediately set things in motion. He promised never to leave His children. He promised there would be a day when they could be together again. And, He was willing to make the biggest, greatest sacrifice imaginable to make it al happen.
Wow! What an amazing Savior!
As I was reading this morning, I imagined a family eagerly preparing for their first child. Often the nursery is set up just so, the house is baby-proofed. Things are made ready for this special addition to the family.
God was so excited about Adam. Before his arrival, He set up the garden of Eden, decorated with the most beautiful plants and flowers. It had the tastiest fruit and even a special tree created for the sole purpose of giving Adam long life. Everything was perfect and beautiful, set in place to bring Adam joy and health and life. He would not be bored or question the love of God in this beautiful surrounding.
Often when we think about God the Father as our father, we forget about the eager anticipation, love, and excitement He has for each one of us. God loves us so much. He is so excited for us. He has great plans for us and He is eager to watch us grow.
What an awesome Father we all have.