Looking Behind, Moving Ahead (Prayer Devotional for the week of February 1, 2015)

It rained last night for the first time in several weeks, and it was still sprinkling when I left the house this morning. On the drive to work, I glanced in my rearview mirror and noticed a bright rainbow in the distance. I could only look at it for a moment, since I was driving, and I started thinking about how God gives us glimpses of his promises – not necessarily for us to stare at and dwell on for a long period of time, but a quick reminder to prod us as we move forward.


We first read about rainbows in Genesis 9, when the Lord illustrated his promise to Noah that he would never again destroy the earth in a flood. Rainbows are lovely, but they don’t linger very long. They come and go with the rain. This is speculation on my part, but I wonder if God chose a rainbow purposefully, as a periodic reminder.


You’ve probably heard the cliché, “When God closes a door, he opens a window.” In my experience, oftentimes, he may show me the window, but I have to get up off of my rump and open it myself. We can’t go through life expecting easy answers. Sometimes, you just have to keep walking in faith until God reveals the next turn.


It’s important to keep that rainbow in our rearview mirror, though. We need to remember God’s faithful promises. He assured us that he will never abandon us (Deut. 31:6 & Hebrews 13:5). His mercies are new every morning, and he is faithful (Lamentations 3:23).


Perhaps your life feels like you are driving in circles right now. I encourage you to hold on to the promises of God. Spend time in the word, reading your Bible and renewing your mind with scriptures (Romans 12:2). Commit verses to memory, so that you can easily recall them in times of distress. Pray scriptures over situations and people in your life. Put you own name into the Psalms, for example, and pray for yourself. When you aren’t sure which step to take next, keep your focus on God’s word and remember his faithfulness.

Christians and their knickers

I am looking forward to seeing the new Noah movie. I was going to wait until after I saw it to post something about it, but then I decided to go ahead and voice my initial opinion beforehand, so you’ll know why I even plan to see it. I am so sick & tired of fellow Christians getting their knickers in a wad over petty things. (That statement may tick off some people, but that just proves my point even further.)

The story of Noah spans roughly four chapters in the Bible (Genesis 6-9), not counting some genealogy mentioned in Chs. 5 & 10. Scarce little is known about the actual event, though Scripture is quite exacting when it comes to describing the ark and the timing of it all in relation to Noah’s age.

I have no doubt that the writers/producers took some poetic license with the screenplay. The movie includes extra-biblical characters and paints a morbid, violent picture of what The Creator did to the planet that he had handcrafted.

Well, duh. Starting in Genesis 6:5, we read that God was so disappointed in humankind that he regretted ever creating us. Ouch. There’s an age-old question that people still ask today: Why would a loving God punish us/allow bad things to happen/send people to hell/etc.? The answer is sin. We choose to turn our backs on God, to ignore or disdain the good plans that he has for us and trek off on our own selfish paths. My pastor is wont to say: “Every choice you make today affects every day for the rest of your life — and everyone else around you.”

Now, I’m not saying that every natural disaster is God’s punishment; don’t get me wrong. I’m just trying to explain that the story we read in Noah was the direct result of people defying God. Yes, it was tragic. It was awful. The story of Noah isn’t just a pastel nursery room decor theme. It’s a blight in human history. Yet, I also believed that it pained God and broke his heart to the core. It’s why God blessed Noah and created a new covenant with him in Genesis 9.

I don’t have a problem with a movie about Noah, even if it is more fiction than Bible-based. If one viewer decides to pick up a Bible – perhaps for the first time – and reads the story for him/herself, then that’s wonderful. Perhaps someone will leave the theater and think introspectively about their place in the world, and where they stand with the Lord.

Besides, people are talking about the Bible in mainstream conversations! How awesome is that?! I plan to take at least my older kids to see the movie, and I will spend time talking to them afterward to debrief and relate what we’ve seen to what’s in the Word. What are some important take-aways from the film? What parts were simply cinematography? What can we learn from it?

There are bigger battles to fight, brothers and sisters. Don’t get caught up in the hype and let irrational and misplaced “righteous anger” about a movie (or a book, or a TV program, or whatever happens to be the boycott-special of the month) serve as one more reason for nonbelievers to roll their eyes at us.