And God said [to Noah], “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.” (Gen. 9:12-16)
At the end of loss is love.
At the end of pain is a reminder of promise.
At the conclusion of losing what you have is gaining assurance of who God is.
If anyone needed a sign from God that what he just lived through he would never have to live through again it was Noah. Otherwise every rain which brings life would remind him of death. Noah, by the way, planted a vineyard as his first work after the flood. Interesting that his first action after living through a season of destruction caused by water was planting something requiring its blessing. Noah lived his life after the flood not from what he lived through but Who he lived for. His behavior on earth reflected his trust in heaven.
What will we do after this year of loss? Perhaps of greater worth perhaps God has already spoken to you a sign of His promise or a moment of His grace, so that you are forced to trust His goodness when all you saw was loss, and you will have the confidence of an abiding faith rather than the dread of a ravaged past.
God shows up when people need to see that He is still good, still loving, still here. A global catastrophe which ended countless lives left survivors who needed to hear of the Lord’s good plan and purpose for them. In the case of the flood, of course, human rage against heaven resulted in ruin on earth. In that sense what Noah lived through and what we have lived through perhaps diverge in significant detail. But one thing which remains is the reality that God revealed His goodness when so much was gone – that the Lord showed His love to those left behind in the days of Noah.
God knows us. How weak we are without Him, how much authority we carry with Him. He created the very limitations we find frustrating so that the very faith we find necessary can become the very freedom we most desire to experience. You can’t help God out. He is God. He doesn’t need you – but He wants you. And that makes all the difference – we are not desired for the value we bring but love He shows. What we do not have within us we are forced to seek from Him, and this creates space for the miracles of heaven to invade the errors of earth. And in it all God speaks His love over those He has made for precisely such a purpose.
As we move into what is prayerfully a season of hope and renewal we must hold fast to the reality that God knew the real hope that Noah needed was found in His affection. The love of God, and only the love of God, would be sufficient to write upon the sky so that every generation of Noah’s kin could look up and see that hope was possible because God is still good. May we not forget this moment of recognizing our real need for, and desire for, the Lord. All other hope will prove fruitless. You can see a rainbow often, but you can’t find Noah’s vineyard anymore. Our efforts of earthly work won’t last. His eternal purposes always persist.
If we have been reminded of anything it is that we need the Lord. And He loves to be sought. God promises that if you draw close, so will He. So may the Lord show you the sign you need to live in faith in the world He made, and do the work He has called you to do, without the stain of the past defeating the certain victory of tomorrow.