I thought I knew the story in the Bible about Noah and his ark.
But recently, when some flood-like events hit my home, I was grateful to find some new ideas in this familiar story.
My first new insight was that Noah wasn't a carpenter by trade. But when God told him to build an ark, he didn't balk. God told Noah the materials required and the size specifications for the boat. (It was roughly the same width and height as the Titanic, and half as long.)
This ship would be home to Noah, Noah's family, and a bunch of animals for seven months while a flood washed everything else off the earth. And the Bible tells us simply, "Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he" (Gen. 6:22).
Noah didn't question God's judgment, or think that God should have checked with someone perhaps more qualified. He just did what he was told.
My second insight: This huge, three-story ark only had one window. It was on the highest level, and it was about 18 inches long. This one tiny, upward-facing window, according to one account, was the only view of the outside world.
To me the true purpose of that window was to remind the people in the ark to look up only to God. They weren't able to look at the flood, which might frighten or overwhelm them. No, they were only supposed to look up and out the window - in prayer to God.
Our family recently had what felt like a flood. In the space of a few weeks, our family's health, financial status, career satisfaction, and general happiness were all on a downward spiral. I often felt as if we couldn't even come up for air, because every time we turned around there was another challenge. I began to think about Noah's story, and how the principles that guided him could be applied to us.
First, obedience. Noah demonstrated unquestioning obedience to God. So I, too, had a responsibility to do the same thing. I didn't stop to wonder whether I was smart enough or had prayed enough. I just began asking God what I should do. To my surprise, He answered me. No detail was too small. I simply trusted God to show me what to do, each step of the way.
My second lesson from Noah was to look up only to God and not be frightened by the "floodwaters" of our situation. Whenever I was confronted by a new problem, I would look up to God in prayer. I knew that God, who is Love, is omnipresent. That means God is present with us each hour, each moment, and each second. Just as God carried Noah's ark - and all of its inhabitants - safely across the floods over the space of 40 days, He was caring for our family.
I also realized I had to trust that God's plan for us was in perfect operation. Instead of imagining the means and timing of our anticipated solutions, my job was to rejoice in God's power, presence, and love. I knew - and trusted - that God was at our helm. Just as Noah's ship didn't sink, neither could ours.
Shortly after realizing the extent of the "flood" in our lives, different elements began to be resolved, one by one. First, we came up with a financial plan viable for dealing with long-term debt. Surprising sources of money to meet present needs were discovered. Health improved steadily as a result of persistent prayer. New and satisfying work for me appeared out of the blue. And, best of all, we were happier and feeling close to God. Truly, it is as Christ Jesus said: With God all things are possible" (Matt. 19:26).
God gives you His spiritual ideas, and in turn,
they give you daily supplies.
Never ask for to-morrow:
it is enough that divine Love
is an ever-present help;
and if you wait, never doubting, you will have
all you need every moment.
What a glorious inheritance
is given to us
through the understanding
of omnipresent Love!
Mary Baker Eddy
(Founder of Christian Science)