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Receding Waters

February 19, 2022 • Life for Leaders

Scripture – Genesis 8:5 (NASB)

The water decreased steadily until the tenth month; in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, the tops of the mountains became visible.

Focus

Between Genesis 8:1-14 there are nine pauses where the text stops to mark that the waters are receding. In the receding of the waters, I find rhythms of recreation. Recreation requires new rhythms for new life to grow moving forward. In Genesis 8:5 as the floodwaters decrease, visibility increases. The ark rests on Mount Ararat. My eyes are starting to see things I hadn’t seen in a while and new things I hadn’t seen before.

Devotion

The biblical narrative does not describe what transpired during that period of unparalleled precipitation and waiting; only that Noah boarded the boat with a promise from God and a single goal: keep his family and the animals alive. God doesn’t make a new humanity. God uses a remnant and through them gives them life in the ark. Even as there is non-life outside of the ark.

My fellow colleague Kevin Doi introduced me to the receding of the waters after the flood story as a kind of metaphor for the period of waiting amidst this global pandemic. Here we stand at 23 months in and 900,000 deaths in the USA, still waiting for the waters to fully recede. How is this time of receding waters a sacred place of restoration and transformation for the humans aboard?

Between Genesis 8:1-14 I identify nine pauses where the text stops to mark that the waters are receding. In the receding of the waters, I find rhythms of recreation. Recreation requires new rhythms for new life to grow moving forward. In Genesis 8:5 as the floodwaters decrease, visibility increases. The ark rests on Mount Ararat. My eyes are starting to see things I hadn’t seen in a while and new things I hadn’t seen before. I wonder what the people in the ark thought about for an entire year. What were their fears? What did it smell like in there? What emotions did they struggle with? How were they different? How would they never be the same again? Could it be this transformation could impact how to re-create the earth as they co-worked with the Spirit post-flood?

My friend Kevin said it best: “At the very least, we will be different. How different exactly, who can say? But this is certain: As people of the covenant, God is inviting us to join the Spirit in (re)creating the earth anew.”

The following exercise will be an invitation to pause and self-examine the receding of the waters and to be re-created in our rhythms. I have found that my rhythms need repair. May you find God’s presence and God’s power in the following pause.

Reflect

Find a quiet place for 15 minutes to pause and do the following exercise.

Act

Find a clean sheet of paper and draw 4 quadrants on it. Label them 1-4.

Box 1: Name the losses of things that you were doing pre-Covid that you would like to be restore post-Covid.

Box 2: Name the things that you were doing pre-Covid that you do not want to see restored and want to leave behind.

Box 3: Name the things you picked up during Covid that were life-giving and that you want to continue.

Box 4: Name the things that you picked up during Covid that you hope to let go of post-Covid.

Return to each statement and respond: Why do you want to keep and why do you want to let go?

Pray

God of the times and the tides of our life, we ask that you would give us eyes to see the receding of the waters as the place of our restoration and transformation. As we pause and name losses, may we also see the gains. As things recede into the rearview mirror, may you give us vision and increase our visibilities. Thank you that you always extend an invitation to participate in our transformation, beginning with ourselves, which will then extend into the restoration of our friendships, workspaces, neighborhoods, and world. Holy Spirit, breathe a new life of re-creation in this time of desolation. Amen.

Find all Life for Leaders devotions here. Explore what the Bible has to say about work at the unique website of our partners, the High Calling archive, hosted by the Theology of Work Project. Reflection on today’s Life for Leaders theme can be found here: Exemplary Obedience, Exemplary Faith


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