Not Many Wise -

Faith and spirituality in a modern world

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[7] Out of control lives

Noah's Ark floating in the swirling waters.Noah had no sail or rudder, I wonder how he felt – powerless, not in control?
Our lives are sometimes swept along by strong currents and storms and it seems to be totally out of our control!

(This article based on Genesis 7:17-24 which is included at the foot of the page)

How strange to build a huge boat, without any form of propulsion, no sails, no oars, no engine, and even more strange, no way of steering it – no rudder!

Man skiing.I can remember, when I went to the dry ski slope to have some lessons. We were told about the clothing, boots, etc.
Then we went to the bottom of the slope.
The instructor told us to side step up the slope in an orderly line.

Then one by one, move out from the line, turn round! And ski down the slope!
‘What!’ I thought, ‘I haven’t even been told how to stop, or steer!’

My turn came, and I zoomed down the slope, – or so it seemed.
It took ages to slow down.
If someone had suddenly run out in front of me, there would have been nothing I could have done.
I couldn’t have swerved, and I couldn’t have stopped. I just had to trust the ski instructor.

How powerless Noah must have felt, being pushed along by the currents, and the wind.
I can imagine him saying: “I can’t steer it! – I can’t stop!”
Noah had to trust the Lord.

What about our lives?

Does our life feel like it is being swept along, and we feel powerless to slow things down? Then trust in the Lord!
The Lord protected, and guided the Ark, without mankind interfering.
If we have surrendered to the Lord, we should realise that He is able to look after us.
At the end of Jude’s letter he wrote:

To Him who is able to keep you from falling, and to present you before His glorious Presence, without fault and with great joy, – to the only God our Saviour be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord,”

So often we want to hold onto our life’s steering wheel, we want to keep the captains hat on.
For those of us, who rely on our own strength in a crisis, or we lean heavily on someone else, there are some interesting verses in Isaiah 31:1

Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, and rely on horses, who trust in chariots because they are many, and in horsemen because they are very strong, but who do not look to the Holy One.”

If you think that those verses are irrelevant, because we wouldn’t go to another nation for help, and we wouldn’t rely on weapons of war, then verse 3 interprets it further:

Now the Egyptians are men, and not God; and their horses are flesh, and not spirit, but he who helps will fall, and he who is helped will fall down.”

It’s not to do with armies, and weapons, but is to do with us believing in our abilities, or the skill of others to get us out of trouble.
The Lord is saying, woe to those who trust in themselves, or who trust in the strength of others.
It will bring grief and sorrow.

Here are some verses, which would save us from a lot of worry and striving, if we took them to heart;

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”
Proverbs 3:5-6

The Lord is able to look after us.

Here is what this article is based on:

For 40 days the flood kept coming on the earth, and as the waters increased they lifted the ark high above the earth. The waters rose and increased greatly on the earth, and the ark floated on the surface of the water. They rose greatly on the earth, and all the high mountains under the entire heavens were covered. The waters rose and covered the mountains to a depth of more than 20 ft. Every living thing that moved on the earth perished – birds, livestock, wild animals, all the creatures that swarm over the earth, and all mankind. Everything on dry land that had the breath of life in it’s nostrils died. Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark. The waters flooded the earth for a 150 days.”
Genesis 7:17-24

Ark image: thanks to The Pictorial Dictionary published by The Educational Book Company, London

Peter Reason

January 2012

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