Not long ago, I happened to be re-reading the story of Noah in the Bible. Although I had read it many times before, this time I was particularly taken with the directions given to Noah (see Gen. 6:14-21).
God did not just say to Noah, "Build a big boat." He was very specific about what was needed to keep everyone high and dry until the flood was over. He told Noah the kind of wood to use, what the boat should measure, where to put the window, and what was needed to keep the ark watertight.
God also pointed out that all the supplies needed to build a safe ark were right at hand. And, of course, He told Noah how to care for the animals. Noah, his family, and all the animals in the ark were kept safe until a dove brought a message in the form of an olive branch that the storm was over.
The story of Noah suggests that every creature on earth can feel the continuous protection of God, no matter how bad things seem to be. I don't pretend to know why bad things happen. But I have learned that God is with each of us and can help with the best practical solutions until the sun shines on our days again.
The story of Noah and the ark reminds me of the 12 years I spent as a single mother. I often felt swamped with problems. But every time I climbed into a spiritual ark by praying, a specific answer came. Often I would just say to my son, "Let's just get quiet so we can hear what God wants us to do." That silent expectation of a solution became our shelter from many storms. Answers came as needed, time after time.
We didn't merely ask for things in our prayer. We trusted God to provide the best expression of His love that would prove that we are forever in His care. We were not wealthy, but we did not starve. We had all that we needed and a little more, every step of the way.
There were countless times when prayer brought specific solutions to the many challenges of single parenthood. When I felt alone and burdened with sole responsibility for my son, prayer would remind me that God is the loving caretaker of us both. This calmed my thought so that I could hear more clearly from God the wisest steps to take.
Soon after my son started college, I married again. In the 10 years since then, my son has become a happy young man, a college graduate, and financially independent at a job that he loves.
Looking back on things now, as it was with Noah, so it was with me. God did not just say, "Raise this child." He also said, "I will show you how." And, as with Noah, things went well when I was obedient and when I did what was right instead of what was popular.
My dove has come.
It takes form in the understanding that God is right at hand, always available to provide help and comfort, no matter how engulfed I might feel by problems. God is the Creator and Preserver of all good. I have learned that trusting Him and following His instructions, I can survive, with joy and grace, the human voyage.
ARK. Safety; the idea,
or reflection, of Truth,
proved to be as immortal
as its Principle; the understanding of Spirit, destroying
belief in matter.
God and man coexistent and eternal; Science showing that
the spiritual realities
of all things are created
by Him and exist forever.
Mary Baker Eddy
(from the glossary of
"Science and Health with Key
to the Scriptures")