A Stoppable Flood

SDA JournalDevotional


Scripture: (Gen 9:15-17 NKJV)  “And I will remember My covenant which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. {16} “The rainbow shall be in the cloud, and I will look on it to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” {17} And God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between Me and all flesh that is on the earth.”

Observation: Noah and his family actually represent a number of family units and dynamics.  Among them we find Noah and his wife’s marriage, their relationship to their sons as parents, their relationship to their sons’ wives as in-laws, the wives’ relationship to the other brothers and vice-versa, and the relationships of the wives among themselves.  I often wonder what it might have been like spending over one hundred days together, confined in that apartment complex which doubled as a zoo.  I wonder if maybe they had their separate quarters on different levels (the ark had three levels), and on opposite ends of the ark.  I imagine they all shared in the feeding and cleaning after the animals, beside the cooking and cleaning for the family.  I wonder if any of them was slower than the rest and others had to bear their share of the responsibilities.   I wonder if there was ever any kind of conflict between spouses, between parents and children, between in-laws.  Or I wonder if the ark was a haven of safety not only from the waters which destroyed all life outside but also from the internal conflict inside.  We don’t read of animals becoming angry, or killing each other because they were hungry, or stampeding in or out of the ark.  Nor do we read of the people inside the ark arguing or fighting amongst themselves.  So I assume that God’s protection was not only from outside forces threatening to destroy them, but from internal conflict which could harm them as well.

Application: John Gottman, psychologist and marriage researcher, describes what happens during conflict as “flooding.”  Flooding is a physiological phenomenon triggered by emotional conflict and leaves people’s heart rates too high for them to clearly concentrate on the conversation at hand. He has also found that men tend to “flood” faster than women do.  His research shows that taking the time to calm down before finishing an argument is more likely to help couples stay close and connected. It may be to the couple’s benefit to continue the discussion with cooler heads in the morning, even if that means the issue was not resolve the night before.
     As sad as it is to think that all life, except for those in the ark, was destroyed in the flood, it may be a lesson for us to learn that in marriage and family life, “flooding” can also destroy – it destroys good communication, it destroys healthy relationships, and in extreme cases such as abusive relationships, it can even destroy life.  So, take time to calm down (at least 20-30 minutes according to research) before continuing a discussion or trying to resolve your conflict, and remember God’s rainbow as a sign that God has made a covenant and wants to save our marriage and our family from destructive floods.

A Prayer You May Say: Father, keep us from flooding during conflict, and protect our homes from any and every destructive influence.

Used by permission of Adventist Family Ministries, North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.



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