Water…wind…dove…olive (oil) – all symbols of the Holy Spirit. Genesis 8 v 8-12 gives me the feel that God is cleansing the earth, and anointing it afresh, ready for the new start. Noah received the dove back in – he needed anointing too – there was a brand new mission ahead and he needed God’s touch. The olive leaf didn’t only tell him that the water had receded, but that God was blessing the earth once more. The waiting was over.
As the hymn writer Thomas O. Chisholm put it “…strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow.” That hymn was based on Isaiah 54 v 7-10
For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back. 8 In a surge of anger I hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you,’ says the Lord your Redeemer.
9 ‘To me this is like the days of Noah, when I swore that the waters of Noah would never again cover the earth. So now I have sworn not to be angry with you, never to rebuke you again. 10 Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,’ says the Lord, who has compassion on you.
So whatever disasters come upon us, it’s never forever. Forgiveness, cleansing and fresh anointing are available.