It is good to first consider that God's faithfulness covers animal life as well as human life. He upholds "all things by the word of His power" (Hebrews 1:3). He does not simply create and then leave His creations to their own devices. His obligation to all life and its care and sustenance continues unabated.
Though the words of this verse are few and simple, to those who feel lost in the depth of an ongoing trial a world of meaning lies here: We are not lost to God. Noah, his family, and the animals were virtually imprisoned in the ark for months, pitching about alone on an endless sea. Nothing broke the skyline. Noah could have easily thought himself as forgotten. Though he could remind himself that God had promised him protection, where was God now—now when the gray days and black nights dragged by and wherever he looked he saw only empty waters and a sky that seemed to hold no hope?
Have we ever found ourselves seemingly cut loose from all moorings, adrift in a sea of problems from which, as far as we could tell, God has vanished? Have we ever begun on what seemed like a great adventure only to be swept away in a flood of sorrow, loneliness, perplexity, and disappointment that seems as though it will end only in despair? Perhaps we have felt as Asaph did in Psalm 77:4, 8: "You hold my eyelids open; I am so troubled that I cannot speak. Has His mercy ceased forever? Has His promise failed forevermore?"
God, however, did not lose track of Noah, and He will not lose track of us! The story of the Flood does not end on a note of hopelessness. The Flood abated. Mountaintops appeared, and the ark came to rest. Their physical survival assured, Noah and his family resumed life on an earth revived and cleansed of sin.
We may never have to face a trial of this magnitude, but God's faithfulness promises another great assurance: It guarantees that all our trials will be in proportion to our strength. God pledges through Paul in I Corinthians 10:13:
No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
David writes in Psalm 103:13-14, "As a father pities his children, so the Lord pities those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust."
God will never lay on us anything beyond our power to overcome. He knows how much pressure our hearts can stand. Do teachers give college-level assignments to a first grader and expect them to perform? Men are careful not to overload a truck, horse, mule, or ox. Will God be any less merciful and faithful to us, His children He is creating in His image? He clearly recognizes His obligation to the work of His own hands to supply our needs and shape the burdens needed to prepare us for His Kingdom.
John W. Ritenbaugh
The Fruit of the Spirit: Faithfulness
Other Forerunner Commentary entries containing Genesis 8:1: