When the dove returned to him in the evening, there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf! Then Noah knew that the water had receded from the earth.

Genesis 8:11(NIV)

I recently read the story of Noah and the ark during my quiet time, it gave me some perspective on the quarantine or lockdown that we are currently living under. I was struck with the similarities that Noah’s family faced and our present condition.

Noah had no idea what a flood was when he was told to build the ark. He suffered ridicule from neighbors and friends for this seemingly foolhardy project he had undertaken. I remember how self-conscious I felt the first time I wore a mask to the grocery store. It was in March when we were all struggling to make sense of this unknown enemy, the coronavirus. A neighbor had told me to wear it…it couldn’t hurt.

God gave him specific instructions on who was to go (his family), what to take to survive, along with two of every animal,  domestic and wild, birds, and crawling creatures. Imagine the food necessary to sustain the eight people and hundreds of creatures. We went to the store as we prepared and soon ran out of toilet paper, cleaning products, and canned or prepared food.

And then the rain began. They didn’t even know what rain was. Noah and his family were locked into a boat with one tiny window and one sealed door. I can only imagine the stench, the irritability of too much togetherness, and the anxiety of enough food for all of them. How do you keep everyone and everything clean? Their quarantine lasted 13 months.

We have been home for five months due to a pandemic, COVID, a disease that no one has ever experienced. We each have had different reactions to this isolation. I know how frustrated I have been but I can at least get out and walk in the sunshine or run to the store for essentials. Some have enjoyed the peace and quiet. It has allowed us to slow down and catch up with ourselves and our family.

The rain lasted 40 days and nights but it took another year for the water to go down so that all the inhabitants of the ark could walk out on dry land. Noah sent out several trial balloons (birds) to check and see if was safe to exit. Finally, a dove returned to the ark with a fresh olive branch in her beak. It was time.

Noah and his family did not step out onto a land that was familiar and “normal.” No, everything had changed and even as the olive branch was fresh, they had stepped into something fresh and “new.” Life as they knew it had changed forever.

I like familiar and comfortable. I have struggled to accept all these changes, the losses, the unknown. I have said more than once, “When will we get back to normal?” But, I’m beginning to realize that “new” is a better way to prepare for the future. It will be different. It will be better. It will take courage to accomplish.

God watched over that family in the ark for over a year. He will watch over me and my family. He provided for them with something fresh as they exited and He will do the same for us. It’s all about trust and faith in our Heavenly Father. He is sovereign. He is a good God.

I’m trying to remember to drop the word “normal” from my conversations and focus on “new,” Join me?