Hope before Lockdown

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When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh. And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth.”

(Genesis 9:14–17)

Tania Lötter forwarded an encouraging message the other day about Noah and his family being “locked down” in the ark. I will talk about that tomorrow. But something happened to me last night that reminded me of that biblical event. It brought a smile to my face and hope to my heart.

Have you ever had a day that could be summed up as frustrating, fruitless, a bit of friction, and faithless? That was my yesterday. It was not a great day. But then an interesting thing happened as I was driving home. It was 6:00 PM and dusk was descending, with dark rain clouds on the horizon. Then it caught my eye: the wide and high shaft of a rainbow—a beautiful bow bearing a message of encouragement. I smiled as I remembered God’s promise to Noah that he would not destroy the earth in such a way again (Genesis 9:14–17). The rainbow was God’s sign of his covenantal faithfulness that his covenantally sealed people would be safe from the waters of his wrath. That is good news. I needed to remember this on the eve of our nationwide lockdown.

Though there is an ocean of difference between what we are going to experience to what Noah and his family went through, nevertheless we share the common truth that God is faithful. He is faithful to his promises, to his people, and to his purpose. This truth hit the sweet spot in my unhappy heart. It put my day, and this day, in perspective.

Noah received this encouraging sign in the sky after his trial; I received mine the day before. In fact, ever since Genesis 9, all of human history has had God’s rainbow as a reminder of his grace. But most don’t notice. All they see is an atmospheric phenomenon. But Christians know better. We see promise when all the world sees is pretty.

So, how will you and I see this lockdown? Merely the action of government, or the providence of God? If the former, we will merely endure. If the latter, we will look for the bow at the end of the storm. A bow that points us to God.

Let’s make the most of the next three weeks. What at times may be frustrating, fruitless, faithless, and tempting us to friction can be transformed by a simple reminder that God is faithful. Look for his bow even as you close your door.

Looking forward to seeing you on the other side.

Doug