Shut In and Remembered

Genesis 8:1 “But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and he sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded.”

 

It was January in Michigan, cold, dark, and stormy.  The young foreigner felt the weather matched her disposition: cold, dark, and stormy. She was a young mother of two, the youngest a mere infant, an infant who recently diagnosed with asthma, should not go outside.

New to Michigan and its brutal winters, the young woman had no friends, no family, and little hope. She felt shut in and alone.  Her job was to simply care for her two young charges.  Keep them fed and warm, and care for their health.

Noah knew what it was like to feel shut in. He had obeyed God’s instructions and had built the ark.  He had gathered all the animals, two by two. He had done all the right things. Genesis 7:16b tells us “Then the Lord shut him in.”

The storm raged on outside but Noah was safe in the ark.  How terrifying it must have been to hear the storm raging relentlessly.  Hear the screams of people fighting for their lives, and how eerie the silence when those lives surrendered to death and those storms stopped. All the while, Noah tended the animals, feeding them and caring for them.  He had no idea how long the time would last inside the ark.  He only knew he needed to keep tending the animals until he was told otherwise.

Genesis 7: 24 tells us that the waters flooded the earth for one hundred and fifty days. That’s a very long time to be enclosed with so many animals.  The days of hard labor producing weary muscles and exhaustion every night.  The stench from living in such close proximity must have overpowered him at times.  How claustrophobic it must have felt, confined inside the wooden walls.  The desire for a little sunshine, at times, overwhelming!

With all that transpired outside the ark, how easy it would be to feel forgotten.  Yet Genesis 8:1a reads, “But God remembered Noah.”  Even while creating a new face on the earth’s surface, God remembered the man, and the creatures he’d tucked safely away until the storms were over.

That young mom in Michigan eventually saw spring.  After months of protecting her baby indoors, together they enjoyed the bright blossoms of plants proclaiming the promise that God is good.  He does remember us, when we feel shut in, with nowhere to go.  He does remember us when we are stuck in a “holding pattern,” waiting for a sign we should venture out. And while we are shut in, He is there with us, every moment, providing for our needs.  Even the emotional needs.  Even the need for a friend, a confidante.  Even someone to share the load with us.

That young mom used the long winter nights after she had tucked her children into bed, for reading and learning more about God.  Noah used his time in the ark to obey the Lord and His instructions.  Both drew closer to God and built faith throughout the times of being shut in.

When the time on confinement was over, we read in Genesis 9:1, “God blessed Noah and his sons, saying ‘be fruitful and increase in numbers and fill the earth.’”  When spring came for that mom, she too felt very blessed from her time of weathering the storm-filled winter.

Reflections:

1)What do I do with myself when I’m feeling shut in?

2) How can I utilize my “shut in” time for God’s glory?

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, How easy it can be to recall the story of Noah and romanticize his experience in the ark.  How easy to think ‘no one knows how hard things can be.’ You know, O Lord, and You love each of us.  You see us and have not forgotten us.  And You never will.  Please help me to remember that as I face periods when I feel shut in.  Thank You for Your promise that You will never again flood the entire earth, and that You will always supply all my needs.  Amen. 

Thanks for reading! Pleaser return by next Monday, January 12, for the next post.

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