Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Have you heard the litmus test to determine who loves you more – your spouse or your dog? Lock them both in the trunk, and when you open the trunk an hour later, the one who greets you with kisses loves you more! Okay, bad idea. Please don’t try that one. This particular test has more to do with object permanence than true love (and would send most initiating spouses to the hospital or an attorney). Humans, unlike our canine friends, realize that an object can still exist even when they can’t see it anymore. Our four-legged friends think that when an object disappears, it’s gone completely. When you open your trunk after an hour’s absence, your puppy thinks you’ve been reborn. Your spouse, on the other hand, knows you’re a permanent object outside the trunk – and probably just lived your last hour on this earth. Object permanence develops in the early stages of life – so says my educator husband – around 1-2 years of age. Parents of toddlers will recognize the screaming Velcro child, clinging to you at the daycare or church nursery door. They’re not quite convinced you’ll ever come back for them. By our repeated return, and a few other social cues, our children begin to learn the concept of object permanence. Noah (at age 600) and his family had learned the concept well by the time they entered the ark, but all they’d known as permanent was about to be destroyed – or was it?

Gen. 7:17-20 – “For forty days the flood kept coming on the earth, and as the waters increased they lifted the ark high above the earth. The waters rose and increased greatly on the earth, and the ark floated on the surface of the water. They rose greatly on the earth, and all the high mountains under the entire heavens were covered. The waters rose and covered the mountains to a depth of more than twenty feet.”
  • Mountains. If they’ve never been a part of your daily life, you might struggle to fully grasp their power, their comfort. When you live with mountains, their constant presence surrounds you like a faithful friend – no matter your mood or circumstance. Even on a rainy day, when the clouds hide their majestic presence, you know the mountains still stand faithfully behind the clouds. I don’t worship the mountains as god, but they illustrate so many of my God’s characteristics that there is indeed some reverence in my heart for the great lumps of earth and rock I see outside my window. Many things in God’s Creation illustrate God’s Person. My mountain looks different every time I visit its peak, but it stands forever, never-changing in its nature. Look at Creation around you. Let it mirror your God…

Gen. 7:21-24 – “Every living thing that moved on the earth perished--birds, livestock, wild animals, all the creatures that swarm over the earth, and all mankind. Everything on dry land that had the breath of life in its nostrils died. Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out; men and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds of the air were wiped from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark. The waters flooded the earth for a hundred and fifty days.”

  • In this situation, object permanence was going to work against Noah and his family. The animals, birds, people – everything that had the breath of life in it – dead. God said it three times to be sure we understood it. Dead. Go back and read the account of the flood. It wasn’t just rain. It was the springs of the great deep bursting forth and the floodgates of heaven opening (7:11). The foundations of the earth – rocks, hills, plains – would have been rearranged. They had 150 days – 5 months – to create a new “normal” on that ark and blot out the old way of life. Nothing would be the same when they stepped onto the new earth…well, almost nothing….

Gen. 8:1-5 – “But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and he sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded. Now the springs of the deep and the floodgates of the heavens had been closed, and the rain had stopped falling from the sky. The water receded steadily from the earth. At the end of the hundred and fifty days the water had gone down, and on the seventeenth day of the seventh month the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat. The waters continued to recede until the tenth month, and on the first day of the tenth month the tops of the mountains became visible” (emphasis added).

  • Ah, those amazing mountains…. Before Noah could see them, he felt the BUMP! on the bow of his boat. They sat for three months, anchored to mountains they now knew were there – the joy of object permanence. And then, three months later, they saw the peaks of those familiar friends they’d known before the destruction. Can you imagine the relief, the wonder, the elation…the questions, the planning, the wondering what’s next? Noah was human, after all!

Lord, at every turn Your love astounds me. I see it in the nuances of stories in Your Word, the thoughtful little things You do for those You adore. I’m enthralled by the careful steps through which You lead each individual on a unique journey meant specifically to draw him/her into Your arms. What joy to know I’m on a similar journey with You, mapped out just for me. I love You, Jesus.


Nancy said...

Oh my, you put such cute pictures on here!! But seriously, you make me think about Noah in some different ways than I ever did before. My husband has been unemployed for almost 7 months, and has been diligently applying for jobs in his field of expertise, all over the country. We're SO open to wherever the Lord wants to take us, and excited to go, if the Lord would just open up one job for him!
You made me think that Noah & the family were probably getting pretty anxious about when they would ever get out of that ark, and what their life would be like after the flood. But God was preparing the ground for them, and preparing them for this new life, and God knew the right time frame. So it is with us--God is preparing the place where we'll be going and preparing us for it. His timing is always right. I trust Him & try to be content as we wait.

Mesu Andrews said...

I'm so proud of you that you can see God's hand at work preparing you for the next step. Ark time seems like a lifetime sometimes - doesn't it? I pray the Lord's continued guidance and peace through this process of your job hunt. May He release you from your preparation into a new life of joy and prosperity.

Patty said...

What a great litmus test! My dog is always so happy to see me when I get home, even if I only walked out to the mailbox! Fun to find your blog... looks like you have some good things to share and I look forward to reading more.

Your comment on the ACFW loop cracked me up! Steamy, exotic romance writer. Ha! You've got me pegged :-)

Mesu Andrews said...

Patty, I'm so glad you found my blog, too! But even happier you're a finalist in the Genesis Contest! Wow! What an accomplishment! I send out an e-devotional each Monday and try to post the main portion of it on the blog. If you want the "deeper" lesson, e-mail me and I'll add you to the group mailing list. Blessings!

SuzieDsouza said...

Babies learn through playful interaction, so parents need not worry too much about trying to "teach" their infants to understand object permanence. Games of peek-a-boo are fun for babies and parents often enjoy them just as much, expressing delight every time that their baby squeals at the reappearance of mum or dad. Such games are precursors to object permanence, so parents, while playing and having fun, are helping their little ones along at the same time.