There was water everywhere. It was a flood. Not the flood where there is a few inches of water in the basement, but a Noah type flood. The type of flood that destroys everything. Water covered everything in sight. And I was struggling to keep my head above water.
But then a large man, probably at least 10 ft. tall, and was had a build like Maui from Moana came out of nowhere, wrapped His arms around me, and pulled me from the water. He set me on a solid rock. I looked around as the flood waters had receded. Again there were streams, mountains, and green valleys.
And then I woke up.
Have you ever gotten caught under water, wondering if you would ever come back up? I did. I had been pounded by a wave in California. It probably wasn’t as bad as it seemed at the time, but wondering how you are going to come up for air can be terrifying.
So, I was relieved it was a dream, and I was relieved that in the dream I had been pulled from the waters. The storm didn’t destroy me.
I have been thinking about storms a lot lately, so that dream probably shouldn’t be a surprise. Maybe it is because we have had some bad storms this summer, or maybe it is because this week is the 2 year anniversary of Hurricane Maria (the category 5 hurricane that we got caught in on a vacation in Puerto Rico), and the 4 year anniversary of when I suffered a miscarraige with a baby I didn’t know I was carrying.
In reflecting on storms, and how God responds to the storms, I have learned a lot about His promises. I have learned what they are, and I have learned what they are not as well.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so My ways are higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55: 8-9
A year ago I was in Rwanda. For some reason I wanted to see a rainbow there, so I asked God to send one. Actually I do know why I wanted to see one, because I wanted to remember His promise, and to me rainbows are a reminder of His promise. But He didn’t send one. Because of what was going on in my life at the time, I was actually pretty disappointed. I mean, it’s a simple prayer. My other specific prayer request didn’t get answered either.
Did I mention that I was disappointed? I mean, these two requests didn’t seem impossible. And both of them should have been completely doable.
Yet, God didn’t answer them the way I wanted.
However, this past year, I have seen more rainbows than I have in my entire life, and more specifically just in the past few weeks. And I mean sometimes even more than 1 rainbow in a day.
And for me, if a rainbow is a symbol of God’s promise, then I need to go back and read the story of Noah, and what God told Noah when the first rainbow was placed in the clouds.
What version of the flood do you remember?
If you are like me, so many times I remember the Sunday school version of the flood. The one in the cute little book, where everyone has a smile on their face, the sky is blue, and of course there is the rainbow (which does come!). But I somehow gloss over the fact that the flood had destroyed every living thing that was on the earth.
God sent the flood because He was grieved that He had made man because they were so wicked. He was so grieved that His heart was filled with pain. But Noah was blameless, and God spared him and his family.
Noah followed God’s instructions to build the ark so they could escape the flood waters. And as the flood waters came, I have to imagine life being destroyed. People struggling to keep their heads above the water that eventually destroyed them.
No, the flood was not one for a children’s story book. It was real life, and in real life you can often feel like the storms of life are going to drown you, or maybe you are watching everyone else as their storm threatens to take them under.
And it is so easy to want His promise to be that the storms will never come. And we want the end of the story to read it like that. But that was never His promise.
This is the promise.
Here is how the promise actually reads…
And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.” Genesis 9: 12-16
No, the promise was never that the waters would never rise again. It was that the waters would never become a flood that would destroy all life. And when God makes a promise He remembers it, and He put a rainbow in the sky, even stating that everytime a rainbow is seen in the sky, He would remember His promise.
He remembers His promises. He doesn’t forget them. We do. We forget them. And we forget exactly what His promises are, because we confuse them with the things that we want.
So here is what I have read about rising waters, and storms, and how they apply to us.
Isaiah 43: 42
In Isaiah God states that He will be with you when you “pass through” the deep waters. Friends, we are not meant to stay in the deep waters, and struggle to survive. Storms come and go. Some are not so bad, so are catastrophic. Bu they pass. You pass through them. And when you do, He will be there.
That verse continues by saying that when you go through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. Again, the waters that can destroy are going to come, but He says that they will not overcome you.
And the storm comes, and then there is Jesus, asleep in the boat with His head on a cushion (hey that sounds nice! Can I sleep like that in a storm?), when the disciples go to wake Him up, being like Hey don’t you care if we drown?, and He actually doesn’t even feed into their fears, He calls out their lack of faith.
And isn’t that so God? He basically promises the rising waters won’t overtake us, yet as the storms come, we fear, when Jesus is right there. And there He is saying You of little faith, why are you so afraid?
Then there is Jesus, walking on water. And Peter saying Lord if it is you, command me to come to you on the water. Jesus, says come, and Peter gets out of the boat, walks on water, and goes to Jesus.
He remembers His promise. We don’t.
The waters will not overtake you if you keep your eyes on Jesus. He knows that promise, because He was there above the waves, telling Peter to come. He knew the size of the waves, He knew the waters were deep, and He knew the second Peter began to see the strength of the storm, he would begin to sink in the waves he was called to walk on.
God doesn’t waiver. His word never fails. His word is unshakeable. His promise still stands.
We don’t have to fear the strength of the storm, when we can look into the eyes of the One who walks on the waves. Stand firm on this truth. He will never leave you, or foresake you. With His strength, the waters will not overwhelm you. He is there with you in the storm.