Noah and Starting Over

I went to see the movie Noah with my son Joshua, but not for theology or inspirational reasons. In the interest of full disclosure, I wanted to see how the most advanced cinematography in the world would portray the events of the Fall and the Flood. What a disappointment! As a poor substitute for Siskel and Ebert, I would have to give the movie a half-star and two thumbs down! Not only did the producers waste the time of talented actors like Russell Crowe and Anthony Hopkins, but they also perverted the biblical storyline, putting man rather than God at the center of the story—and, what was most disappointing, they missed the main point of the story of Noah.

The story of Noah is not so much about Noah’s courage, as much as it is about God’s saving grace. It’s really a story about how God started over and how you can start over too!

According to the biblical record in Genesis 6:5-13, because the people had become “corrupt and the earth was filled with violence,” God sent the flood in order to destroy mankind. There must always be judgment and death before there can be a new beginning. The ark is a picture of our salvation in Christ (1 Pet.3:18-22).

  • The salvation and the ark were planned by God, not invented by man. There is only one way of salvation and there was only one door in the ark.
  • God invited Noah and his family into the ark (7:1); then once they were in, God shut them in so that they were secure (7:16).
  • The ark saved not only humankind, but also the creatures within it, just as Christ’s death will one day deliver creation from the bondage of sin (Rom.8:18-32).
  • The ark saved Noah and his family from judgment because they believed God’s promise (Heb.11:7); Christ saves us from the wrath to come as we believe Him.
  • Just as Noah was brought safely through the flood; Christ went through the flood of suffering (Ps.42:7) and came out in victory.
  • Noah went out of the ark, the head of a new creation, with his family; and Christ came out of the tomb, the Head of the new creation, and the Father of a new family.

Here is the point: you’ll never truly start over by simply moving your residence, changing your career, or even altering your diet. The true way to start over is to make sure that you take God’s invitation by faith to enter into the ark—the ark of relationship with His Son, one who is better than Noah: the Lord Jesus Christ.


The Restart Button

As human beings, I think we naturally crave new starts; do overs. With each New Year, we look forward to the year ahead, making resolutions in hopes for a better year than the one just past. We set goals, desiring improvement in specific areas. Each morning, in a sense, is a new start for us. God’s mercies are new each morning, and as the dawn breaks, we receive fresh opportunity to live for Christ.

In God’s providence, we sometimes experience major changes in our life that shake us to the core and put us in a position where we feel like we have to start all over again. This happened to me a little over a year ago when my husband left Christianity. In so many ways, it felt like I was starting over again. But, as I have walked this journey, I have realized that though it feels like the restart button was pushed on my life, what really is happening is all a part of the same journey I had already been on. You see, God is using every situation and circumstance in my life, in your life, to shape me, and you, more and more into the image of Christ. Our one “do over” moment as believers was at the point of salvation. It was at that moment that God restarted our lives, so to speak, to turn us radically away from living for ourselves to living for Him.

If you are going through a heart-wrenching experience right now as a believer and are wondering how in the world you will pick up the pieces of your life and begin to build again, let me lovingly tell you that you can’t. As you pray and seek Christ’s face for answers to the questions of why, how, what, and when, He Himself will pick you up and show you that He will use your broken pieces for His glory. We must not make an idol out of our past (wanting “the good old days” back) or our future in this life (coveting something you lust after for your own life). Seek to be a Christian today, and as you do, God will continue the work He started in you. You see a broken life, but He sees a masterpiece in progress, and every circumstance of life is a part of fashioning you into His bride who will one day see Him face to face forever.



It’s Been Paid in Full

Just when we think that we’ll finally be able to pay off that credit card, or take care of the outstanding maintenance issues with the car, or reorganize the chaotic closet upstairs, or…… (we could fill in the blank with a hundred things, couldn’t we?), God makes it clear He has something else planned. It’s like He’s telling us to start over with our plans…our hopes…our desires. And to be really honest, when we’re in this place, it’s hard to feel the love of God for us. We hear the lies of the world and of Satan whispering in our ears, “If God really loved you, wouldn’t He want you to have the means to take care of that? Well, then, you must have been mistaken. He must not love you as much as you think He does.”

But the love of God isn’t felt in the fullness of your bank account. In fact, the amount in your bank account has nothing to do with how much God loves you, nor has it any relevance upon how well He is caring for you. And He is caring for you. Even as you struggle with not being able to see how you’re going to pay your bills this week or purchase groceries next week, God is caring for you. And what He might be telling you is that it’s time to start over.

It’s time to start over with your priorities. Is it wrong to want to pay off debt or maintain the material items we own or spend money on reorganizing? Not necessarily; but is that what you want most? If so, you need to start over.

It’s time to start over with your goals. Saving for the future isn’t foolish, but if it’s more important than living spiritually strong in the here and now, it’s time to start over.

It’s time to start over with your love. We go to church week in and week out, worshiping God as much as we can at that moment, but because of all of the other lesser things upon which we pour out our love, we have so little to give to Him. Our only hope is to start over.

Starting over begins with letting go. We’ve been trying to be in control when we’re really not. But God is! And He’s doing a fabulous job taking care of us and our needs!

Once we let go of control, we are freed to surrender again to God, whose will may not include a six-figure income for us; but it does include our knowing Him, glorifying Him, and enjoying Him forever—something that isn’t paid for from our bank account because, praise Him, it’s been paid in full!

Gimme Another Chance!

Have you ever had to ask anybody for a second chance? Maybe you wronged a friend, a spouse, or even your boss and you had to throw yourself at their mercy in order to make amends for your error. Sometimes people give you a second chance, but sometimes they don’t. You want to hear some real good news? God is a God of second chances! In fact, even better, He’s a God of nth chances; He specializes in helping broken, sinful people to start over.

So how does this truth apply to our families? Well, aren’t our families just a collection of broken, sinful people gathered under one roof? God is a God of second chances for individuals as well as families.

If you’re like me, you may not have been raised in a Christian home and the habits and patterns you learned from your parents may strangely linger in your own life, as evidenced in your actions or your speech. I never thought I would say, “Quit crying or I’ll give you something to cry about!” As a kid, I didn’t even understand the logic of that statement. It seemed silly to me. I mean, I was already crying and you want to make me cry more? However, as an imperfect father following in the line of imperfect parents, I have said it too. The point is that the way we raise our own families is often a perpetuation of what we learned by being children in a family; and not all of that is good.

Numbers 14:18 says, “… [He will visit] the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generations. Like endless waves on the seashore, the idea is that if we perpetuate the same sinful patterns with our own children that we learned ourselves as children, the ripple effects can be devastating; generations may be ruined by what we do with our children today. Soak that in.

However, the good news related to our topic is that God is a God of second chances! The first part of that same verse says, “The Lord is slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, forgiving iniquity and transgression…” There is an opportunity for forgiveness with God. We can start over! By God’s grace, we can turn our homes around and start a legacy of godliness that alters the course of our family history and that can lead to the betterment, instead of the detriment, of generations to come.

May God give us the grace and wisdom to see what we need to change in our homes that He may be glorified, that we may grow to be godly parents, and that a Christian legacy may begin. Lord, help us to start over in our families.