Posts Tagged ‘Noah’

Some things in this life are hard to understand, aren’t they? Often when we hear of some tragic event, we can feel so helpless and dismayed. We may be able to be there for those involved, provide practical support and pray for them, but still those big questions can remain.

This whole matter of life’s hard-to-understand questions was brought home to me recently, as I helped our granddaughter with a uni essay. This involved reading C S Lewis’s The Problem of Pain and grappling with how the idea of a good, all-powerful God could be reconciled with the reality of all the pain and suffering in our world. What a challenge for an eighteen-year-old—and what a challenge for me too, to help formulate a reasoned defence of Lewis’s Christian position!

During this time too, I heard a tragic story about a young mother who had just passed away from cancer not long after the birth of her second child. The mother was so ill that the baby was delivered early—and the grieving father is now left with two young sons to rear, one a premature newborn. It is hard to get our heads around such awful events, isn’t it?

As our granddaughter and I persevered with her essay, however, we came to some basic conclusions at least. We do not claim to be clear, logical thinkers—and we would not want to give any pat answers either. But we decided that God chose, from a position of strength and authority as the Creator of the universe, to give us free will—the ability to choose how we act. In one sense, it could perhaps be said God’s options then became limited, yet God is not intrinsically limited. God is still good and all-powerful, even though we may not be able to see that clearly at times.

Yet we also felt that, while our wrong choices may account for much of the world’s suffering, this does not seem to be the case with the young mother’s death mentioned above. Nor does it account for those large-scale natural disasters in our world, although it could be argued some are the result of man’s not caring for the earth’s God-given resources. We remembered too how sometimes God has judged the world in this way, such as in the days of Noah (Genesis 6). And we wondered too if, at times, God may allow suffering—sometimes suffering teaches us things we might never otherwise learn and refines our faith. Yet right now, through it all, God also longs to comfort and strengthen us in our troubles—God does not leave us to struggle on alone.

It is all so complex, isn’t it? Truly, we know only in part—but one day, we will know fully (1 Corinthians 13:12). And one day too as Christians, we have the wonderful hope of eternal life, where there will be no more pain and suffering at all.

God will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. Revelation 21:4

One day, those big questions will be answered—or perhaps then they will not matter anymore. But until that day, let’s keep on trusting and walking with our loving, good, all-powerful God.

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P1040005Our grandson discovered an exciting new pastime at Nanna’s and Granddad’s this week—washing up! He did it as if his life depended on it—he washed those plates and cups of his at least twenty times over. I could not help but smile when I saw his look of deep concentration as he went about the task at hand. Obviously, Zain felt quite important and was determined to do the best job he could.

Afterwards, we read one of his favourite books, Noah and the Big Boat, together. When we had finished, Zain opened the book again, pointed to something on the page and nodded wisely.

‘That’s God!’ he said in a very definite tone.

I looked and saw he meant Noah, depicted in this book as a man with white hair and a long, white beard. Not wanting to endorse a stereotype many people still seem to hold about God, I hastily corrected him.

But our little man was not daunted.

‘That’s God!’ he said then, pointing to one of Noah’s son’s working on building the ark.

When I again shook my head, he changed his mind and pointed to one of the women carrying water to the men.

At that point, I realised I had failed big time in communicating who God is. I had blundered on, all the while assuming his little two-year-old mind would somehow understand what I meant. But no—the concept seemed beyond him.

‘No, that’s not God either,’ I floundered. ‘You can’t see God anywhere.’

Even as the words left my mouth, I sensed how inadequate they were. There was no opportunity to continue the conversation, however—our Zain had run off to the latest thing that had captured his attention. All I could do was try to be a little clearer about who God is next time we read the book.

But then I began to think more about what Zain had said. No, Noah was not God—but God could be seen in him and in the way he lived his life. In Genesis 6:9, we read:

Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God.

In the midst of the corrupt world around him, Noah stayed true to God and ‘found favour in the eyes of the Lord’ (Genesis 6:8).

Even though Zain has a few misconceptions about God right now, I hope, when he grows up, that he exhibits the same zeal for the things of God as Noah did. I hope he gives his all to follow God’s ways, with the same wholeheartedness I saw in the way he tackled that washing up. Yes, that’s only a little thing and he’s only a little child right now. But as I looked at Zain at that kitchen sink, I caught a glimpse of God in him in his beautiful appearance as well as in the way he approached his task. And I also caught a glimpse of the man of God he could become—strong and determined for the Lord.

May others see more and more of God in our Zain in the years ahead.

May others see more and more of God in me as I seek to walk with God, just as Noah did.

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