I recently finished reading The Preservationist by David Maine. It is a novel based on the account of Noah in the book of Genesis. Maine imagines what Noah and his family might have thought and felt, how exactly they might have accomplished what God instructed. I went back to Genesis and realized, for the first time, that we are told primarily about what God instructs Noah to do, and then that “Noah did everything just as God commanded him” (Genesis 6:22). That’s quite a gap in the story.
Maine’s novel caused me to consider the ways we respond to God. In Maine’s story, Noah, his wife, his sons, and his daughters-in-law each interpret God’s intentions pretty differently. Each is persuaded that obedience is necessary, and none doubts that “Yahweh” is omnipotent. They do not, however, all believe that God is good, or that He intends good things for them.
Noah is the only one among them who hears directly from God. The rest rely on Noah’s relaying of God’s commands and promises. After the flood, Maine’s Noah stops hearing directly from God and he feels lonely, possibly abandoned.
It makes me wonder about the way I interpret and respond to God. How do I ride the waves between feeling close to God and feeling distant? Certainly there is no change in Him, but how I feel creates a lot of change in me.
Lately, the influence of my feelings has been more pronounced than usual. Depression makes everything seem distant, disconnected from me. When I am very low, and most need the reassurance of faith in God, it seems the most difficult to grasp. I am reduced to the most basic sense of trust that God is true and faithful, no embellishments.