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Monday, January 27, 2014

Scripture Reading: Genesis 8:6–22
At the end of forty days Noah opened the window of the ark that he had made and sent out the raven; and it went to and fro until the waters were dried up from the earth. Then he sent out the dove from him, to see if the waters had subsided from the face of the ground; but the dove found no place to set its foot, and it returned to him to the ark, for the waters were still on the face of the whole earth. So he put out his hand and took it and brought it into the ark with him. He waited another seven days, and again he sent out the dove from the ark; and the dove came back to him in the evening, and there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf; so Noah knew that the waters had subsided from the earth. Then he waited another seven days, and sent out the dove; and it did not return to him any more.

In the six hundred first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried up from the earth; and Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and saw that the face of the ground was drying. In the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth was dry. Then God said to Noah, “Go out of the ark, you and your wife, and your sons and your sons’ wives with you. Bring out with you every living thing that is with you of all flesh—birds and animals and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth—so that they may abound on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply on the earth.” So Noah went out with his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives. And every animal, every creeping thing, and every bird, everything that moves on the earth, went out of the ark by families.

Then Noah built an altar to the Lord, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. And when the Lord smelled the pleasing odor, the Lord said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of humankind, for the inclination of the human heart is evil from youth; nor will I ever again destroy every living creature as I have done.

    As long as the earth endures,
        seedtime and harvest, cold and heat,
    summer and winter, day and night,
        shall not cease.” (NRSV)

I can only imagine how happy Noah felt—after being inside the ark for as long as he was—when the dove came back with an olive leave in its mouth. I recently made a very empowering decision for myself. After struggling with something for some time, feeling like the raven that flew in circles waiting for a conclusion to happen, I finally became like the dove, and I made a decision when the time was right. The dove knew there was no reason to go back to the ark after a certain point; he knew that what lay outside provided everything he needed.

I think all of us are like the raven at many points in our life—we refuse to go back to the place that God told us to wait, and instead we fly in circles going about our own plans. If, however, we become like the dove and make decisions after being patient and knowing that we will not land anywhere while out trying to make plans for ourselves, leaving the nest will never feel so good. We will have waited until water receded, and we will see what God ultimately wanted for us.

Lord, I pray that you guide my heart to always help me see what it is that you ultimately want for me. Help me to see clearly when sometimes I want to make decisions based on my own accord because, in the end, I know what you have planned for me is greater than anything I could ever try and create for myself. Amen.

Written by Ashley Elskus, Co-Director, the Center for Life and Learning

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