“Gopher wood”

Genesis 6-8

“So make yourself an ark of cypress wood (gopher wood);

make rooms in it and coat it with

 pitch inside and out.”

The next tree mentioned in the Bible is the gopher wood, thought to be today called Cedar or Cypress. Noah was told to use it to build the Ark.  Gopher wood is mentioned nowhere else in the Bible.  I have always read the Noah story as a historical event ie all cultures have a flood story, or sung about it with youth on bus rides, or taught it in Sunday School and certainly laughed when Bill Cosby does his solo and asks God, “What’s an Ark?”  The tree in the story, the gopher tree, is not really the focus because usually the point is God’s distress at sin and his ability to save people seeking him. 

         Today, though, I am pondering the story in the light of feeling overwhelmed by the flood of emotions sweeping through my life as I go through the transition of putting my husband in Memory Care.  My life is tossed around as shopping changes, cooking changes, routines that defined my life have changed, and I grieve.  I wonder how Noah felt and his children.  Did the work of caring for the animals keep them so busy they didn’t focus on the loss?  God chose a tree, the gopher tree or perhaps cypress, to save Noah and his family.  God chose the cross to save us.  Some days I cling on to my faith in the midst of the flood of events and emotions.

         I remind myself that God spoke into the chaos of the evil of that day and he is speaking into the chaos, the evil, the murder, the selfishness of our day.  God is working and like that gopher tree that was used to build the Ark and is often overlooked in the story, I may feel unimportant but you and I are part of a story that may feel like a flood today.  God is leading, directing, speaking, and desiring a life we do not see yet that will be good.  Thank you, Lord, for hope in discouraging days.  Blessings on your journey!

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