Friday, June 5, 2015

All Things New - Noah: The Solitary Road, Part 2

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

I've been kinda mulling over Noah and the dramatic New Beginning he and his family had.

They had a year...over a year...of transition.  They were in the ark with all the animals and each other, and they had no real way to know how it was outside.  After 5 months, the ark ran agound on Mount Ararat, but the water still covered everything.

I'm not sure just exactly when Noah opened the window...the narrative says 'after 40 days', but doesn't really indicate when the 40 days began.  I'm just kinda guessing it was 40 days after the ark grounded;  that way he could see when the mountain tops around him became visible two and half months after the ark quit floating.  The release of the raven and the dove are not linked chronologically to the rest of the dates, except possibly by implication. 

In all, they'd spent a year and ten days in the ark.  How wonderful it must've felt to walk in the sunshine and feel the breeze.

But it was not the world they'd last seen 375 days earlier.

All that moisture that had been locked in the firmament beyond the sky (Gen.1: 7 8) had fallen to the earth and evaporated out into the atmosphere.  There were clouds;  they may even have seen the sun more clearly than they had before.  And there was weather..I think God pointed out the rainbow as the sign of the covenant that He would not destroy the world  by flood again so that they wouldn't freak out when it rained.  After all, the only thing rain had been to them up to that time was judgement and disaster.   Now there would be rain and storms and, in some parts, snow and ice.  But all that was still to be discovered.

There was so much to be discovered.

But no people. 

I wonder if the fact that everyone they'd known was gone...lost in the flood...was overwhelming to them as they walked out into the sunshine.  At the very least all their extended family... siblings of Noah and his wife, cousins, aunts, uncles were gone; some of Noah's own children may have been counted among those who rejected God.  It was one thing to sit cooped up in the ark while terror raged around them and wonder if those others really all would be another thing entirely to walk out into a brand new world and see the finality of that judgement.

One of the key elements of transition is coming to grips that what was before cannot be again; it is gone, it is over, it is done.  It may not have been pleasant memories they shared of what had gone before...but the loss and absolute denial of any kind of return had to be bitter, even as they thanked God for delivering them safely.

That bitterness may have played a factor in later bad decisions.  Noah's intoxication, Ham's disrespect of his father and Noah's subsequent curse of  Ham's son, Canaan...all may have had to do with grief, anger, repression of emotion, all those things psychologists and prayer counselors will say can lead to such things.

The plain truth is that it is hard to let go of what was.  But a major transition in life often means we cannot carry old relationships, old thought and behavior patterns,  old familiar issues with us at all.    Or we'll walk out into a new shining world brimming with promise and miss it all as we agonize over what is not.

What things am I hanging on to that need to be remembered with honor and released?  What is before me that I do not recognize and cannot imagine? How can I appropriate God's grace to let go of the past and walk bravely and expectantly into the future?

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