We are a family. We love each other, we forgive each other, we help each other.

I’ve been in a season with my children where I am explaining that families just don’t happen. God is orderly and purposeful and when he created man and woman he established social structure and natural order. We aren’t a bunch of wild people flung out on our own, we belong to each other and we are supposed to care for each other. This philosophical exposition usually ends with something like, “So stop picking on each other and hug, dog gone it.”

I know this never happens at your house, but to help you relate, this conversation usually happens after someone whines that they don’t want to watch another person’s ball practice or attend the other one’s club meeting, or listen to someone else practice the banjo. In all fairness, I support the banjo practicing. It’s hard to do homework with a first grader, cook dinner, listen to Backyardigans on the TV, watch my four year old ride his stick horse in a circle around our house and listen to the banjo. I tell myself the same thing I tell my children, we are a family, we love each other, we forgive each other, we help each other.

Not only did God create a family from the start in Adam and Eve – but it was in the cooperation and love of a family that mankind was saved from the flood. Not a flood, but THE Flood.

We meet Noah when he’s 500 years old and a father to three sons: Ham, Shem and Japheth. In Genesis 6 God speaks to Noah and tells him that mankind has become so evil, so corrupt that God has decided to wipe the slate clean and begin again. He’s sending a flood and Noah is to build an ark, fill it with animals and provisions, and his family will be saved.

Can you imagine the dinner table that night?

Dad, how was your day? Funny you should ask son, God spoke to me today and he told me to build an ark. An ark is a boat. A boat is something that floats on water, because God is sending a huge flood. Yes, a boat. I’ve never seen one either but God gave me very specific dimensions so we could build one. I know, I’ve never seen water cover the earth either, we have wells and rivers, but apparently there’s going to be a lot more water on the scene, enough to drown the earth and everything living on it, except for us.
Scripture doesn’t record the family’s conversation or the long awkward pause that probably ensued.

What we do know is that Noah, his wife, his sons and daughter-in-law obeyed. For 100 years they built the ark and made provision. Scripture tells us they alone entered the ark. Not a cousin, another sibling or in-law, it was Noah and seven others (2 Peter 2:5).

Floods surround our family and come into our lives today. It’s not the water Noah faced, but it can be as suffocating. Isaiah 59:19 likens the enemy of our souls to a flood. Sometimes it’s a flood of unemployment, another time a flood of sickness, a flood of hurt or loss, a flood of rebellion, a flood of fear. These floods cover everything we can see and leave us feeling like we are drowning.

The key to this entire story for me is in Genesis 7:1, “The Lord said to Noah, ‘Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation.”

Let me encourage you with this. Every day, you are building an ark for yourself and your family. It’s not with cypress wood, but in the spiritual discipline you establish as a family, the truth of God’s word you hold to, and the faith you show in the Savior you’ve staked your life on.

When the floods roll into our family’s lives, we will hold to Genesis 7:1 – we are righteous in Jesus Christ and we are going into the ark we have fashioned as a family together.
In tangible terms, every time I teach my children a truth, that’s one more beam moving into place in our family ark. When we cheer each other on, especially when it comes to the banjo, that’s pitch between those beams. When my children ask why we aren’t like other people, why we can’t say certain words, why we go to church on Sunday, it’s a chance for me to nail another beam in place, and when my children see me forgive them and they forgive me, more pitch between the beams.

Every family is building something, a legacy and metaphorical structure that they will cling to when a flood comes. Noah and his family labored together and, when the time came, their family walked into an ark they fashioned with their hands and were saved.

How’s your ark looking? Are you putting the beams into place? Do you have some spots that aren’t watertight and could use some pitch? Take courage and learn from Noah. Don’t be weary in well doing – the little things you do every day. All day you are creating a structure that your family can run to for shelter to ride out the flood.

We are a family. We love each other, we forgive each other, we help each other.