Children of Noah

Thanks to Jeff Ratcliff for the image.
Thanks to Jeff Ratcliff for the image.

So as the story goes we’re all children of Noah, right?

If you follow the Old Testament and read the Bible and remember all the stuff that went down about that flood, if you have any belief at all in Christ or in God, if you remember the story, the whole earth was wiped clean because humankind was so dirty, bad, almost un-savable.

Everyone, of course Noah and his family.

And if I remember correctly, even God was sad, even God was a bit regretful He made us, His finest creation, and He was deeply sad about having to wipe the slate clean so to speak, but there wasn’t a way around it, with God being who He is.

Argue the theology all you want and try to rectify that into your understanding of God. It’s a hard concept to grasp from the God of love, but if you think of a parent disciplining their child, or letting their child take responsibility for their own actions, I think you’re coming close to maybe grasping the concept, although no one can really grasp the strange backward paradigm that is God.

But I’m not here to argue theology.

I’m here to remind us that we are Noah’s children. God’s children too. We are offspring of holy.  Holy.  Let that sink in.

And I think we need a reminder in this time of too much bad and graphic news, a reminder that we are holy and precious things, people from the holiest man at the time.  Children from a family that God, God alone chose to save.  We are children of Noah.

And because of God’s great and wonderful promise, he promised not to wipe us all out again in a flood.

Lately, after seeing how destructive and cruel and inhumane we as humans can be, and with the recent development of the kidnappings in Ohio and all the gory and inhumane details that will spill out about that house and those men, in a matter of days, some days I wonder if a flood again, to wipe us out, would not do us just a tiny bit of good.

I’ll say it: all un-Christian and everything: there is a large amount of hate, of vileness and repulsive feelings I have for those men, for any people actually, who hurt, abuse, and/or use power in a perverse way over humans and animals.

Those people, I think, well, some days I think a flood would be helpful in their particular cases.  But those are not nice things to think, not Christian things to think at all.

They get me worked up into a mix of rage and sadness, so much so some days that I have to remind myself that I am a Christian, and as one, I don’t get the last say.

I don’t get to go be negative and get revenge.  Some days this is good, as it keep the latch locked on the fence of the wild pony of my emotions that would love to jump over the fence of discipline and shout obscenities (amongst other things) at people who do so much wrong, so much hurting. But I don’t get the last word on that. God does.

And while I’m choosing to trust God and not become the bitter and revengeful person I can so easily be, I still have a call as a Christian I do have to speak up and do something. And writing is where I start.

Here’s the thing about my wishes and the flood–God’s not going to do that again.  This is a mixed blessing, a mixed bag, because a part of me always wonders, always wants a report card—God said he won’t do it again, but that doesn’t mean that we aren’t worthy of it happening—are we as vile, cruel, unloving and destructive as those people from the Old Testament?

If our God wasn’t as loving and as faithful as keeping his promises to us, how many times would we have been wiped away, gone, already, in this age? I have to say I’ve pondered this one too many times in the last 6 months or so, every time something horrendous happens, and I’ve pondered it more times that I would care to admit.

But that’s not the point of all this.

The point is to trust God, that all things will be redeemed in His time, in the end.

This makes no logical sense, really.  This is something I grapple with daily, because it feels a lot like giving up, like being passive.  But n actuality, it’s probably the most aggressive and radical thing you could believe.

But the whole ‘everything will be redeemed in His time’ concept? That’s a long time to wait, maybe.  And that’s a lot of trust we have to put into a God that we think is taking too long, or a God we don’t quite fully grasp, a God in reality, that is much bigger and wider than any of our minds can comprehend.

On these days, the down days, I wonder what heaven is like, if it really is perfect. I, of course hope so, but wonder: then does it get boring? What happens with perfection, with things always going so good?

And then I think of the news last week, the horrors we feel and see and hear and think to myself: heaven, redemption, you can’t get here fast enough.

That cool glass of refreshing water that is heaven cannot arrive too quickly.

But in the meantime, we have to live, and love and somehow maneuver through this world, carrying both the pain and the joy of living in these days.

And we get through with each other, and the answer isn’t a cape and a 28-minute episode where all bad things and people are resolved at the end of the show. It’s doing small actions, the small things, inconvenient steps, each day.

Oh yes, inconvenient.  If we are going to change the world and revamp the world into one we actually want to live in, we’re going to have to put down the iPhone occasionally and look up, look within, and notice what is going on within and around us.

And that means we simultaneously guard and open ourselves, our families, our communities.

We help each other with things get bad.

If things or life or our choices completely fall entirely off the rails, we are open enough to admit it, get help and move on.

We are open to community.

We are not afraid.

And we are not afraid to take action, step in, step on our neighbor’s toes in the process of trying to get it right.

It does not mean ignoring, feeling pity for others without praying; it does not mean, for certain, indifference.  Or a lot of “that’s too bad” comments on blogs.  It means we need to do something. It means action.

We care about our neighbors, and those in our community we get to know them, and we say hi and make efforts. These little things are the big efforts.

We don’t just pull our car into the garage and hop from one location to another, keeping to ourselves or to our phones, just barely noticing others.

In short, it’s that we realize that we are all family and we all have a duty to help each other out, even if that comes with defensiveness, feelings being hurt, missteps, mistakes and all of the awkwardness that comes in knowing one another authentically, as people.

And we continue to do it.  Get into relationships with other people.

Even when it gets hard, messy, ugly.

And we ask God for all the help we can get, and all the help He can possibly give us.

And we pray. We pray like the world needs help (it so desperately does), like our society needs more help that just simply a Band-Aid, a patch over problems, and we get on our hands and knees and pray like our lives are depending on it, because they are.

And we trust, still radically trust, that He has it all under control.

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4 thoughts on “Children of Noah

  1. Thanks for this post. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with all of us over at Saturday Night Stars.

    I’m so glad that God has it all under control. That he knows our wickedness and chooses to love us just the same.
    ~FringeGirl

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  2. “Why do bad things happen to good people?” Why are some people born or even evolve into monsters that do horrible things to their fellow man?

    Horrible and despicable as this was, it’s also in many ways logical.

    Human traits and performance manifest themselves on a bell curve. This is true for a lot of phenomena from what I understand. Most things fall within a range of average values, with a few extremes. If we’re talking about the goodness or evilness of people (a very loose term), then you’d have examples like mother Teressa on one end, and this dude on another.

    What makes mother Teressa such a wonderful exception is the exact same mechanism that makes this person such an awful exception. In the range of possible outcomes in a system, both extremes manifest themselves. One cannot exist without the other.

    If I stop and reflect, this is merely a single instance–just, perhaps, as mother Teressa. It is *not* common. In a world of billions, one story really has no bearing on the state of the whole. This type of tale while tragic in our country, is likely far more commonplace in a place like the eastern congo in Africa, where journalists love to espouse poetic about the type of hell on earth people out there have to live in. One extreme to the comparative paradise each of us is lucky to have been born in.

    We have defensive instincts which is where I think the term “evil” can come from. In a world of bell curves, not everyone is good, so you need to capability and capacity to do harm to people. But by in large we are a social species, and the vast majority of situations we face are better handled when we work together as a group. Hence, it is generally the rule that being good to each other and fostering all that makes that possible is almost always in our best interest. We’ve created entire institutions to defend this concept by force if necessary.

    I consider myself lucky to have landed on a mostly favorable side of the bell curve. I don’t know many details about the decade-captive rape victim story that made the news, but I haven’t indulged it. I really don’t need to know the details of that one. It doesn’t really change anything. Evil will always happen, just as good will always happen. The fact that our society and people at large react the way they do to such people suggests that we are just fine as a people, and as a species.

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