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God Remembers

Words by Emily Tyler | Illustrations by Marie Warner Preston

When all hope feels lost, Noah's story reminds us of the 'But God' truth: Our God is a God who remembers His people, constantly showing Himself strong on their behalf.

After the advent of COVID-19, we’re no strangers to lockdowns: restrictions on movement, only seeing those you live with, comforts of life removed—we’re beginning to relate to Noah in ways we perhaps hadn’t before.

Reading this chapter, I’m struck by the vast amount of time Noah has to wait after the rain stops. We often think it rained for forty days and nights and then everyone left the ark straight away. In and out. Except that’s not how it went down.

God tells Noah that he is going into the ark and for how long the rain will fall. What He doesn’t say is how long Noah will be trapped inside after the rain ends. There is no mention of the days that turn into weeks and months of lockdown. Just the daily chaos of the ark’s inhabitants and silence from God. I wouldn’t be surprised if Noah began to feel forgotten. Everything appears lost. The world as he knew it has literally disappeared, and he’s stuck in a floating prison. All he can hold on to is the promise God made to keep him alive (Genesis 6:20).

I love how even the structure of the Hebrew text helps us to focus on what is truly important. In Genesis 7 and 8, we see a palistrophe (an inversion of statements, e.g. ABCCBA) at play; the events of the rains coming and falling through chapter 7 are reversed through chapter 8 as the waters recede and Noah and his family can leave the ark. It’s most easily seen in the days mentioned: 7, 7, 40, 150, 150, 40, 7, 7. The significance of this palistrophe hinges on the central turning point between the first and second 150 days. So what is this critical moment that provides a glimmer of hope that freedom is on its way?

“But God remembered Noah” (Genesis 8:1).

The Hebrew for ‘remembered’ in this verse is zakar, ‘remembering that leads to action.’ When we read that God remembers Noah, Rachel (Genesis 30:22), Sarah (Genesis 21:2), Abraham (Genesis 19:29), and many others, we can know change is coming—conception, answered prayer, rescue, or salvation. God remembers, then He moves.

Throughout the Bible, we’re shown that God is in the business of remembering His people. He is mindful of us (Psalm 8), even if others forget or leave us, He will not (Isaiah 49:14-15). If He remembers the sparrows, then He’s certainly going to remember you, infinitely precious you, and the situation you find yourself in (Luke 12:6-7).

The pinnacle of this narrative, the moment everything changes from bad to good, is God. But God. When we find ourselves in messy, dark, and long seasons of waiting, we must hold onto and remember God’s promises. But God is still with us and acting on our behalf. No matter how forgotten we might feel, God will do what He has said (1 Thessalonians 5:24), and remembering who He is and what He has done awakens us to the comfort of His presence, taking us from a place of desperation to one of joy, hope, faith, and praise (Psalm 77).

The very crux of our faith centres on remembering that our future was changed from bad to good when Jesus endured the cross. No longer are we confined and imprisoned by sin because Jesus remembered you and then chose to act. He suffered the ultimate prison of death so that we could be brought out, like Noah, to receive new life—full of freedom, fruitfulness, and hope.

Whatever you’re waiting for, remember this: God remembered Noah, and Jesus remembers you.

Reflect on the past week. In what ways has God shown you He is mindful of you? Take some time to give thanks for His faithful care and allow it to fuel an expectation for what is yet to be fulfilled in your life.

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