Up in Smoke


photo via pixabay


Picture it . . . God opens a door 

Finally. We’ve been waiting for this opportunity and aching for the change for months, maybe years. The “door” is our way out of an undesirable circumstance. Out of a bad job, a bad relationship, bad living quarters. What’s our first move after we walk out of the old place and into that new and glorious place? Hang onto that thought.

I was pondering the account of Noah—his journey with seven family members and a small zoo—and I was struck by his initial act upon leaving the ark. After a year of being pent up in a giant wooden box (not a luxury liner), he stepped foot on solid, dry ground. And what did he do?

A while back, God opened a door for me, and I walked out of a corrupt living situation. A year later, I walked out of major despair, and He slammed both of those door shut behind me. (The Lord seems to have this thing with doors.) He didn’t choose the negative circumstances that overtook me (or Noah), yet those living conditions didn’t stop His perfect plan for my life.

If I were in Noah’s sandals…
I can picture myself running out of the ark, jumping and skipping, and kissing the ground, yes, even at 601 years old. I imagine my excitement at finally being free from the same old odors and the same old faces. And, of course, feeling wild with curiosity: “What will this new world look like?”

If we were one of the ark passengers, would we grieve over things we’d left behind? Maybe a thriving business, or a roomful of crafts and other articles that we’d spent hours upon hours creating? What about missed friendships? When transitioning to our “new place,” are we complaining about the past?

Overwhelmed by an all-powerful Maker.
When God opened the door of the ark and Noah walked out, he didn’t grumbled, complain, cursed or grieved. Instead: 

Then Noah built an altar to the Lord, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird, and offered burnt offerings on the altarAnd the Lord smelled a soothing aroma… Genesis 8:20-21a

The Hebrew word for “burnt offering” means to “ascend,“ literally to “go up in smoke.”

Interestingly, our cultural idiom “Up in smoke” is defined as: to terminate w/o producing a result; be unsuccessful. i.e. all our dreams went up in smoke.

Did Noah’s dreams, his old life, go up in smoke? I doubt he viewed it that way, not after encountering a flood (a phenomenon of nature unknown before that time). He’d experienced a miracle and witnessed God’s miraculous mercy on his family amid the wrath poured out on a wicked people.

“The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination and intention of all human thinking was only evil continually.” Genesis 6:5 AMP

Noah was overwhelmed with thankfulness and wanted to show it. He was full of awe over a powerful God who was faithful to rescue a remnant of righteous. Just as with Noah, God gives us chances at a new life–it’s His speciality.


Fresh start

Newly opened doors can offer hope, and relief, and freedom, and upgrades. But let’s not forget Who holds the power to open them. I’m thankful that sacrificing animals is no longer necessary, as Jesus paid the ultimate price for our freedom. Should this make us more grateful than Noah?

As long as I am alive on earth, may my life “go up in smoke” and become a soothing aroma to my God and King. Lord, help me live in such a way that my existence is a continual reminder of all the good things You’ve done
for me, and to “offer up my body as a living sacrifice, which is pleasing to God (Romans 12:1).”


God still opens doors.

What will you be leaving behind?

What can you do that the Lord will smell
the aroma of your thankfulness?


The Way of the Embattled Spirit


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2 Responses to “Up in Smoke”

  1. Rae says:

    Another fantastic post. One that has me thinking a great deal as I’ve been reflecting on an old, and altered, friendship.
    Thank you, Ms. Marx! God’s truth is always remarkable. <3

  2. J.A. Marx says:

    So glad the thought-wheels are spinning, Rae. I agree, God’s truth is totally remarkable.
    Thanks for dropping in.

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