“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
I went on my first cruise in 2016, my first and perhaps my last. It was a great experience, mainly because I knew that it was for less than a week that I would be away from the assurance of being on land – solid, steady, certain land. During the entire trip, I mostly forgot that I was on a ship or that I was moving at all, unless I was close to a window or on deck.
One the last night of the cruise, there was a rain storm. Not a hurricane, just rain and wind, which would have been fine if I were in the comfort of my concrete home, standing on tile floors. However, I had a stark reminder of the difference between land and sea. The ship was responding to the motion of an angry sea and with every wave and heave, my stomach flipped. We were walking like toddlers or drunks, with our arms out, feet wobbly, tottering to the next stable wall or secured furniture. By the end of the storm, I was ready to be off that ship.
I am sharing this experience because I am still contemplating Genesis 8, and encourage you to read verses 1-14 today. Genesis 8:4-5 (NIV) says, “On the seventeenth day of the seventh month the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat.” Inherent in this verse is the understanding that up to this point the ship was moving in response to the rain and rushing waters that destroyed everything and everyone outside of the ark. If you read chapter seven you will find that this was not a gently rising, “row, row, row your boat” situation. The earth literally burst forth with waters, and torrential rain fell for forty days. The ark rose in response to and was steered by the waters through uprooted structures, unearthed trees, floating homes, human and animal carcasses and kept moving in every direction for months (and don’t forget Noah was locked up with wild animals which no doubt had their own panicked response to this uncontrolled motion). Can you imagine the chaos of feeling unsteady for month? Well, figuratively, I can relate. This was perhaps how many people felt at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, unstable, unsure, caught in the middle of a storm that wreaked havoc in the world.
But Genesis 8:1 says, “Yahweh remembered Noah and the wild animals and livestock that were with him in the ark, and…” He acted on his behalf (insert praise here). Now, take note that although Father Yahweh began to move and caused the water to recede, the boat was still moving. Noah was not yet aware that there was a change happening, because nothing in his experience had changed since the rain stopped. Until one day, the ark came to rest, HalleluYAH, imagine the relief, no more upheaval and being thrown off balance, but peace and stability – rest. It would be another few months before Noah and the animals were given permission to disembark from the ark.
There comes a point in our lives when we go through our storms and turbulent experiences where Father Yahweh brings us to a place of rest. Even if He is not ready to take us out of the place where we have been weathering the storm, He gives us the grace to remain in place. Although we may still be uncomfortable and weary, He provides us with a settled peace. No longer are we tormented and anxious, crying out for relief, nervous, unable to eat or sleep. But He can bring us to a place where we understand and accept that our only hope is in Yahweh, that He kept us through the upheaval and He is able to preserve us until the waters are completely dried up.
Stay in place, in peace. I pray that even before Father Yahweh takes us out of the storm, out of the place where you have been holed up during the storm, that we will find that peace that passes understanding (Philippians 4:7), knowing that Yahweh has not forgotten nor forsaken us. He calls us to come to Him and find rest, may we accept this invitation and access that rest today and everyday.
Read: Genesis 8:1-14
Write: Take note of the timeline shown in Genesis 8, imagine the patience that Noah had to exercise. Is there something you are going through or have been going through that requires you to be patient and to trust Father Yahweh to take you through? Write about it and about your experience and how He has been keeping you so far. Or write about how Genesis 8:4 can be applied to your life.
Pray: Pray for peace, inner peace, peace that transcends your circumstances and the state of the world.