Every day I am grateful for the “but God” moments in my life. Those are the moments when God shows up to rescue me from the certain destruction that is the obvious ending to my story, save God’s miraculous intervention on my behalf, providing me with a last minute plot twist leading to a happy ending instead. It is God’s intervention that makes all the difference in the outcome of my story and in the outcomes of other’s stories as well.
Some “but God” stories are more widely known than others. Such is the case with the story of a man named Noah. His is quite the iconic story. Had God not intervened however, I doubt we would even know Noah’s name today. But God did have a plan, which we read about in Genesis chapter six, and that plan included Noah.
“The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. The Lord was grieved that He had made man on the earth, . . . So the Lord said, ‘I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth’ . . . But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.” (Genesis 6:5-8)
Yes, there is a “but Noah” moment in this story. That’s because Noah found favor with God. So God told Noah of His plan to destroy the earth. He instructed Noah to build an ark, a really big ark that could hold his family and of course animals, lots of animals.
“So God said to Noah, ‘I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. . . . So make yourself an ark of cypress wood; . . . I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens, . . . Everything on earth will perish. But I will establish My covenant with you, and you will enter the ark – you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you. You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female . . . ” (Genesis 6:13-19)
Noah obeyed God and built this boat in spite of the fact that he had never experienced rain on the earth in all of his six-hundred years. Nevertheless, “Noah did all that the Lord commanded him.” (Genesis 7:5)
“In the six-hundredth year of Noah’s life, on the seventeenth day of the second month – on that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened. And rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights. . . . as the waters increased they lifted the ark high above the earth. . . . They rose greatly on the earth, and all the high mountains under the entire heavens were covered. . . . Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out; Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark. The waters flooded the earth for a hundred and fifty days.” (Genesis 7:11, 17-24)
I wonder if Noah and his family felt hopeless at this point in their story? They were stuck in a boat and there was no dry land anywhere. Then we read these words in Genesis 8:1,
“But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and He sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded.”
“But God” – such welcome words, which changed the course of the story. The rains stopped, the winds came and the flood waters eventually dried up. Noah, his family and all the animals eventually were able to exit the ark and once again inhabit the earth. It was a new beginning, marked by a covenant God established with Noah. We read about it in Genesis chapter eight –
“Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him: ‘I now establish My covenant with you and with your descendants after you and with every living creature that was with you – . . . Never again will all life be cut off by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.’ 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. . . . 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 9:8-16)
To this day, we still see rainbows in the sky after a storm. Rainbows are reminders of God’s covenant, made so long ago with Noah – a covenant that continues still to this day. Rainbows remind me that God is faithful to all His promises, even when I am not. Storms often leave destruction in their wake. The rainbow after the storm reminds me that God is still present and will restore what the storm has taken in His timing. God Himself said that He will see the rainbow and remember His promise.
The rainbow is God’s tangible gift to us, signifying His eternal, abiding presence with us. When we come through a storm, His rainbow reminds us that He has not forgotten us nor His covenant with us. The rainbow is hope on display for all to see and know that He alone is God. The rainbow reminds me that my next “but God” moment is much closer than I know because the rainbow literally says – “The earth was destroyed – BUT GOD!”
“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” (Psalm 73:26)
sincerely, Grace Day