1226 Union Ave, Grand Rapids, MI 49505


Following Jesus, Serving Others, and Sharing God's Love


Yesterday the Governor issued another executive order, this time asking all Michiganders to shelter in place for the next three weeks. I felt the weight of that new order as I pondered how to care for our church body, and also for the many people who are not connected to a church who are struggling right now. I’m someone who likes to come with solutions to challenges but yesterday I found myself feeling a bit helpless, and overwhelmed, and weepy.

I prayed, read some scripture, did some brainstorming, and eventually went to the sanctuary to work on the stage. Building things has always been therapeutic to me, so I picked up a saw, and grabbed a router, and went to work.

In the midst of cutting boards, I found myself thinking about Noah building an ark to prepare for the flood, and an extended period of isolation. I found myself wondering how he could make straight cuts, or drill holes when I struggle to make a nice cut with a fancy tool. Don’t worry, Mike Berrevoets is very competent and things look great.

That random thought of Noah got me reflecting on Genesis 6-8 this morning. Reading that passage I was reminded that Noah and his family where on that ark for a long time. Depending on how you add the numbers, and which scholars you pay attention to, it appears Noah and his family were on the ark for at least half a year, but maybe almost an entire year. Noah spent all that time with his family on a large boat full of animals that needed attention. They had no screens to distract them, no sports to watch, no books to read, and no well made board games to play. I don’t know what they did to pass the time. It wouldn’t surprise me though if they all wrestled with uncertainty, fear, and grief at various parts of the journey.

When the boat landed, I can’t help but picture them running off the boat and rolling all over the dry ground. I picture that because it’s what I would have done! 

Genesis 9 tells of a new beginning for people and God. The covenant is established with Noah’s family, they receive instructions for how to live as God’s people, and they are told to fill the earth. Then God promised to never flood the earth like that again, and set the rainbow as a sign of his faithfulness to keep that promise. 

God’s faithfulness is the key to the whole story. God was faithful to help Noah build the ark. God was faithful to bring the animals into the ark. God was faithful to seal the ark shut, protect Noah’s family through the storm, take care of all their needs, and ensure their survival. God was faithful to make the water recede, make the ground dry, and give them a sign of his loving faithfulness in the rainbow. 

Over the next three weeks, we’ve all been asked to do our part to limit the spread of Covid-19 by staying home. As we slow our lives down, and experience way more time at home, we will likely all struggle at some point. But as you struggle, or get antsy, or wonder why this is happening right now, keep in mind that the God who was faithful to Noah, is also very faithful to us. The ultimate sign of his faithfulness is the empty cross, which reminds us that God has dealt with sin, chaos, and the brokenness of this world, and is even now, EVEN NOW, continuing his work to make all things new.

Here are a few passages that point to God’s faithfulness:

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end;  they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” – Lamentations 3:22-23

“God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.” – 1 Cor. 1:9

“But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.” – 2 Thes. 3:3

“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” – Heb. 10:23

I typically wake up in the morning with a song in my head. This morning I woke up with, Great is Thy Faithfulness. So let me end with those lyrics as a reminder of who God is for us right now.

Great is Thy faithfulness

O God my Father
There is no shadow of turning with Thee
Thou changest not
Thy compassions they fail not
As Thou hast been
Thou forever will be

Great is Thy faithfulness
Great is Thy faithfulness
Morning by morning new mercies I see
And all I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness
Lord unto me

Pardon for sin
And a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer
And to guide
Strength for today
and bright hope for tomorrow
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside

Great is Thy faithfulness
Great is Thy faithfulness
Lord every morning new mercies I see
And all I have needed Thy hands hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness
Great is Thy faithfulness
Great is Thy faithfulness
Lord unto me

Pastor Eric