Genesis 8:19 “Every beast, every creeping thing, and every bird, everything that moves on the earth, went out by their families from the ark.”
If God allowed us to have a video of a passage, this would be high on my list. Noah and his family and the animals have been sealed up tight in the ark for more than a year. Now, the flood was over. Now, they were leaving their boat of safety and rescue. Now, it was time to get out, spread out and get on with life. What a different world this must have been. No people, except what came out of that ark. No animals, except what came out of that ark. This was like creation part two. New. Fresh. Clean. It was different. There would be more new challenges.
I thought about this in relationship to what the world is going through with this epidemic. Some day we will be on the other side of this. Some day this will be just a bad memory and a point of history. Years from now, if the Lord allows, folks may talk about this storm like folks talk about going through the depression. And, what is now being discussed are the long term impacts this will have. Financially, it may take a while to get things rolling again. Some businesses may never open their doors again. Health wise, there is concern about what the long range effect this virus has on lungs. People that had it and are better, will they have more problems down the road? And, in this country whenever anything big happens there is always some political fallout. Will this help the President or hurt him? Time will tell. There is a mental factor. What has long term social distancing done to people mentally?
Someday, all of this will be over. We’ll come out and look back and see lessons. Good lessons, and bad lessons. We’ll see some things that we could have done better. We will see wisdom in be careful and cautious.
And, in these lessons we will see and remember how some have behaved. This is a long term impact that some may not realize. All the ranting on Facebook, all the complaining, all the backseat driving advice, all the finger pointing, and all the anger, comes with long term consequences. This is something that I don’t think brethren think about. We are so into the moment, that we can’t see beyond the moment. And, not realizing this, paints some into a corner in which they cannot get out.
Years from now, if the Lord allows, some among us will be considered as new shepherds to lead God’s people. As a congregation looks at these men, people may remember how they conducted themselves during this crisis and storm. Some will remember that they weren’t much of a team player. Some will remember that they acted like rebels and complainers. Some will remember the true colors that were shown during this time. And, remembering what they saw may be just enough for some to say that you do not have the right leadership qualities or you do not show faith and trust in a crisis and your name would be passed over.
I expect Noah thought a lot about what the day would look like when the door of the ark would be opened again. I wonder if he thought he’d ever see a tall tree again? Would the world look wonderful or would it look like a mess? I was walking down by a creek recently. You could see where there had been high water. Logs, leaves and debris was piled upon along the banks in a mess. It wasn’t a place to take a nice picture. It looked dirty and ugly. Would the world look like that for Noah?
What will our congregations look like after this storm? Not the church building, but the folks? Has things been said and spread that will make relationships tense and awkward? Has a trust been broken with the leaders? Will everything they now do be questioned? Will things be strong, beautiful and even better than they were before? After the storm there are lessons. We’ve had some strong storms in my area recently. I have to go through the yard and pick up sticks before I mow. That’s the aftermath of storms. And, there will be aftermaths of this storm. Currently, we are still riding the waves. The clouds are starting to break up and we have hope that the storm will soon be over. We’ll take a moment to catch our breaths, but then life goes on.
There are many things about Noah the Bible doesn’t tell us. We can guess but we just don’t know. If I was Noah, I don’t think I’d be returning to the ark to spend a night there again. Once I was out, I think I’d stay out. And, once we are out of this storm, we won’t look forward to the next one, especially of this magnitude.
Here are a few thoughts:
First, after any storm, you check on everyone to make sure they are ok. And, Ok, has several factors. Healthy? Emotionally? Spiritually? Financially? Storms affect people differently. I remember times when we had tornados nearby. We’d be huddled in a closet. The little ones would be holding their blankets and pets. As we heard the wind, they were afraid. I was thinking about shingles, deck furniture and clean up. Different worries. Different concerns. It’s that way with storms. People have different concerns, worries and fears.
Second, it’s good to have a post storm meeting. This is where we learn lessons and take inventory of how we were prepared. The government will do this when this is over. Hospitals will do this. It is good for shepherds to do this. How did the deacons do during this? How good was the communication to the congregation? How united were the shepherds? How did the preachers do? Did anything or anyone fall through the cracks? Did we overlook something? Talk it out. Put some things on paper. Make adjustments. Do better.
For a person to go through adversity without any lessons learned is just a waste. We see things in storms that we do not see in the sunshine. We tend to get our priorities in a better place. When the disciples were struggling in a boat, during a storm, the Lord walked on the water to them. Peter asked to join the Lord on the water. He did. He started to sink. The Lord saved him. When they were all back in the boat, Matthew tells us that they worshipped the Lord and declared, “Certainly, this is the Son of God.” Those were two firsts for the disciples. It took a storm for them to see who Jesus was. And, after a storm, we see things in each other that we may never have seen before.
Third, adjustments are made to make things better. This is an aftermath of a storm. You realize what really matters. You shore up things better. You talk more. You express your thankfulness more. You see that the Lord got you through. When Noah left the ark, one of the first things he did was find some rocks. He built an altar. He made a sacrifice to God. He had gotten through the storm. He was thankful. We need to be that way when this is over.
Finally, Noah got on with life. He build a home. Other homes were built. Towns and villages and then cities were built. Roads came. Stores followed. Life got on with life. Noah didn’t quit. He didn’t give up. Our storm will pass. We have a lot of teaching to do. We have a lot of encouraging to do. We have a big world that needs to know about Jesus. We must get on with our spiritual life as God wants us to.
Storms pass. Lessons can be learned. We can be better than what we were. Those are some things that we must keep in our minds and hearts.