Our calendars report spring, and we, the people, agree. But even as we wish winter away, we dread what follows. Alps have erupted in our front yards. Walkways sport newly sculpted tunnels. Snow still lurks in local forecasts, and with it the threat of spring flooding.
Water. Everywhere. On our roads. In our fields. Overflowing the culverts. Washing into our basements. Dire predictions abound. “Worst flood in recent memory,” some say.
A few communities have tried to prepare. Most, including my own, just wait, hoping to prove the predictions wrong, crossing our fingers that we’ll find ourselves among the fortunate ones who come up dry. Wishing for an ark, like Noah’s. Remember him?
For several hundred years, a thoroughly corrupt citizenry mocked the old man’s forecasts: “Flood’s comin.’ God’s mad. Really. You guys are incorrigible. So bad, he wishes he’d skipped Day Six way back there at Creation. Think I’m kidding? Just watch.”
Perhaps the observers found it humourous, then tiresome, watching that six-century-old man and his family. Sawing, sweating, heating, warning, pressing, preaching. Finally, a century after construction first began, there it sat: the cypress wood box known as the ark: one and a half times the length of a football field, as tall as a four storey building, seventy-five feet wide, and with a capacity of over five hundred railway stock cars.
Perhaps some of the mockers reconsidered when the animals started appearing, unbidden. Lions, boarding the ark, docile as kittens. Maybe the apathetic observers got interested when the first rain drops appeared. But their interest came too late. Genesis records the only survivors: Noah, his family and enough animals to begin the process of replenishing the earth.
Our grandchildren love the large Noah’s ark set in our living room. Their role-playing caught my attention one evening, right at the part of the first blinding, driving rain. The ark pitched and tossed in the gale. Untold casualties (figures from a long-ago Wild West set) surrounded it, each plastic sinner swept by the deluge into the cavern under the piano bench.
I waited for the usual outcome. Dove. Rainbow. Animals busting out. Instead, as the rain came down and the flood came up, one small grandchild darted under the piano bench. Plucked one of the drowning figures from the water, and plunked it atop the ark.
This provoked a severe reaction from the sibling who insists on all things as usual. “NO, NO! He can’t come! He doesn’t belong to the family of Noah.”
The tender-hearted rescuer thought a moment. Then she spied another toy from the Wild West set. Her eyes lit up. “OK,” she said, “then he’s going in the canoe.”
History brings evidence of the truth of Biblical prophecies: that God’s judgment hovers over those who ignore his laws. Nations, governments, societies and individuals have already paid that price. But every Easter reminds us of God’s loving offer of an ark of rescue: His Son, Jesus Christ. Heaven mourned his death. Those who know him still celebrate his resurrection. And one day, every knee will bow at his feet.
Our neighbours, like Noah’s, need rescuing. Canoes sell cheap these days, but only one craft will save. Whether we use hammer or bell, pulpit or pen, let us, with love and truth, compel others up the cross-shaped ramp into the sheltering arms of Jesus Christ, the only safe dwelling place.
Get in the ark, people. Rain’s a’comin.
Kathleen Gibson, writer and broadcaster, describes herself as “a practicing Christian…and in this case practice doesn’t make perfect!” Her book, Practice By Practice: The Art of Everyday Faith, features a collection of favourite faith and life columns from her long-running newspaper column, Sunny Side Up. She is also the author of West Nile Diary—One Couple’s Triumph Over a Deadly Disease. A former magazine editor and freelancer for Reader’s Digest, CBC Radio, and other major media, Kathleen’s work has received numerous awards and been published worldwide. Learn more about her at Simply Life with Kathleen Gibson.