By now, the word COVID might feel a bit like a cuss word to your ears. All of us have grieved something COVID-19 caused us to lose. And words like quarantine and stay-at-home orders became part of our vocabulary during this season.
It seems Noah and his family were probably the first quarantined people we know of in humanity. Not only that, they would have been the first ones given an order to stay in place and shelter. The first ones called out to separate themselves from the rest of the world. And they were the first ones to understand the depth of what happens when a warning has been given about the fragility of life both spiritually and physically.
But instead of a president, governor or local authority, the one who called the stay-on-the-ark order? God.
And the Lord shut him in. (Genesis 7:16).
This one-half of a verse is filled with so much that we have to pause to truly understand. After everyone was loaded into the ark, the door was closed. But not by Noah, not by anyone in his community or family, but by God. Some Bible scholars believe this is an example of God’s grace — Noah not having to be the one to close the door.
Can you imagine having to be the one to make the decision of closing the door for the final time?
As I’ve watched leaders during COVID-19 struggle with when to close and reopen doors to stores, restaurants and even churches, I can feel the weight of what they’ve carried in these decisions.
Perhaps this was the greatest moment of relief, grace and mercy for Noah — the door closing.
The angst Noah must have felt as he exhaled for the first time in this long, hard, trying process as the door closed. Only to inhale the next reality: Destruction was coming.
Once the door was closed, that was it. The hard thing, perhaps the hardest, was done. And it wasn’t man’s responsibility to do the hardest part.
This is the promise to hold tight to in the midst of hard things. We do our part, but God does the hardest. He never expects us to carry the weight of what it means to believe Him above all our doubts. Trust often feels like the hard thing . . . in the midst of the hard thing. But I have to also remind myself that God has a habit of doing holy things in the midst of hard things. The problem is, we normally only see the hard.
To say that I’ve been flooded with doubt about what it’s going to take to come out of this current season more than just surviving would be very correct.
I keep looking for that Bible verse that says following God means things should be easy, simple and clear. But as hard as it is to say, there is no such promise from our God.
Often during hard seasons, I just want to escape. Go somewhere. And just forget about all the hard things. But often when we’re in the midst of hard things, there’s nowhere to escape.
But these country roads out here by the Fixer Upper Farm have provided a place of respite and reflection during this stay-at-home season. Sometimes country roads and Tim McGraw blasting through your speakers are all a soul needs to exhale for a moment.
I found myself on one of these drives after a day filled with hard things. I rolled the windows down, looked at the roads glowing with light from the sunset and just told God how incredibly sad I was.
My joy, my strength, my hope . . . it all felt like it had been stolen from me, and doubt about everything was flooding me.
That day when I was driving down those roads processing all the things, I sensed what I needed to do: “Tell the enemy, there’s more where it all came from.”
Sometimes I just need a practical way to break out of the pit life can toss us in. Our words matter in this battle to rise above the enemy’s attempts to sink us lower and lower.
I spent several minutes that day reminding the enemy of my soul, where my hope, joy, strength and blessings came from.
I say those same words to you today. Whatever you feel is lost, sinking or disappearing, tell the enemy there is more where it all came from. We’re all trying to run from these emotional floodwaters, but maybe we just need to stop running and decide to rise on them. As we accept what feels lost, we rise toward the next beautiful thing God has for us. Take a minute and . . .
Tell the enemy, there’s more joy where your joy came from. (Psalm 28:7)
Tell the enemy, there’s more hope where your hope came from. (Romans 15:13)
Tell the enemy, there’s more strength where your strength came from. (Psalm 46:1–3)
Tell the enemy, there are more blessings where your blessings came from. (2 Corinthians 4:17)
After I spent a few minutes reminding the enemy where everything in my life came from, I turned off my beloved Tim McGraw and put on the most powerful worship music I knew. When that drive was over, I felt better. My circumstances didn’t change during that drive, but my soul did. And that’s where real change begins.