The most tragic experience to ever darken the door of a soul is to feel forgotten.
I remember reporting to my first unit in the Coast Guard, scared, nervous, and out of my comfort zone. I was escorted to the birthing area and assigned a rack and locker, and told to wait until my mentor came to get me for a tour of the ship. There I waited, all night long. I finally resigned to the fact that my command had forgotten about me; unwilling to explore out of fear I would get in trouble, I laid down and slept. In the morning, I was awaken by an announcement that lunch was being served on the mess deck. Eventually, hunger overcame any fear of reprimand, and I went to look for that mess deck. By the time I found it, the cook had shut the doors, and lunch was over. It was at that very moment I felt completely and utterly alone. Separated from my family and friends by almost 4,000 miles with no way to communicate, I ended the day in my rack, forgotten and alone.
I have often wondered about Noah, yes, he had his family, but I wonder if he ever felt that God had forgotten about him. It is much different from believing you have been forgotten by people than been left alone by God Himself. God had been speaking to Noah, giving instructions on building the ark, directions on who should be loaded up, and when it was time to enter. Then, for the next 150 days, silence. If Noah was anything like us, it was during that season of silence that he started wondering, questioning, and perhaps even doubting. And, if Satan has not changed, it was during the season of silence that he spoke the loudest in the ears of Noah, “God has forgotten about you.”
After about seven months in the ark, it landed on the mountain top, and there it remained for forty days. It was then Noah opened a window and sent out a raven, which went “to and fro” until there was dry ground (Genesis 8:6, KJV). After the release of the raven, Noah dispatched a dove three times; the dove returned after the first trip empty-handed, with an olive branch on the second run, and did not return after being released the third time. Why, though, did Noah release the raven? And, was the raven’s trip unsuccessful? He never returned, he remained in the air, with the dove, until all was safe for Noah and his family to leave the ark. After some deep studying, I have developed an opinion that I’ve not heard nor read anywhere else; God used the raven to assist the dove in finding the olive branch that would remind Noah God had not forgotten about him.
There are only four of God’s creation that have linguistic displacement; the ability to communicate about things that are not immediately present, things that are not seen in the current time or place. The four? Humans, bees, ants, and ravens. Only these four can be aware of something somewhere and then communicate that information to another. As a human, I can give my home directions to a friend in another state with such detail they could make the trip and visit with me. Only humans, bees, ants, and ravens have this gift from God. So, could it be that God had Noah send the raven out for this very reason, knowing the raven’s gifts and abilities? Could it be that the raven’s mission was, in fact, successful? Perhaps the raven traveled “to and fro” looking for dry ground, and upon finding an olive tree, led the dove to that very spot and then back to the ark? In my opinion, this is the only theory that makes sense. For Noah, he simply received an olive branch from a dove, a symbol of peace, but for us, we have access to the inner workings of God’s planning and know that God had all of this worked out when He created the raven, perhaps for just this very purpose. How comforting it must have been for Noah to receive a token of remembrance after months of silence, confirmation he was not, after all, forgotten.
How about us? There are certainly times that we feel our prayers are not being answered, times when our world is crashing around us as we wait from the One above us to move through us, yet all we experience is silence. It is during the times of God’s seeming silence that the voice of Satan is the loudest, whispering in our ears, “God has forgotten about you.” My friends, remember the raven. Remember the story of Noah and take comfort in the fact that even though you don’t see God move or hear His voice, He is nevertheless very active in your life. There will come a time when the rain lets up, the winds cease, and the waves settle, that God will send you something that will remind you He was with you the entire time.
“Can a woman forget her nursing child And have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you. “Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; Your walls are continually before Me.”Isa. 49:15-16, ESV
Question: Do you ever get so overwhelmed by the circumstance that you feel that God has forgotten about you? Perhaps ever wonder if God has given up on you or moved on to love someone else that can love Him more or serve Him better?
Prayer: Father, thank you for this story of the raven. I need your help to remember that you will never leave me, especially during the periods of silence. May I know that you are working and moving in my favor. Please give the faith to endure the storm and the peace that comes from trusting you no matter what. Father, I am weak, but you are strong; thank you for holding me with unseen hands and for the gift of your Word that will fill the silence and overcome the voices of the devil. Thank you for always remembering me. In the name of Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen.