The Value of Starting Over

Yael Eckstein  |  October 5, 2021

Black and white drawing of the story of Noah.

“I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens, every creature that has the breath of life in it. Everything on earth will perish. But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you.” — Genesis 6:17-18

Each week in synagogue, Jews read through the Torah from Genesis to Deuteronomy. The Torah portion for this week is Noach, from the name of the main character, Noah. It is from Genesis 6:9 –11:32.

You know that feeling of getting to the end of a project and realizing that you have to throw out what you’ve done and start over from scratch? It feels as though all the work was for nothing. Just a waste of time and effort. As someone who shares my thoughts in writing on a regular basis, this happens to me all the time. Few things are as frustrating as starting all over again.

Do you think God ever gets frustrated? He created a perfect world, but filled it with us, imperfect human beings. From the beginning, it seems that nothing went according to plan. First, Adam and Eve sinned, then Cain murdered Abel. And then, the entire world became so corrupt that God saw that the only solution was to destroy everything in a flood and start over.

The Value of Starting Over

Think about it. When God created the world, He commanded Adam to “work” and “take care of” His creation (Genesis 2:15). When God saw that things were headed in the wrong direction, He decided to start over with Noah, who had proven his piety and faith despite living in a society that rejected God. Noah then selflessly cared for all God’s Creation for a full year in perfect obedience to His instructions.

What a change from the rocky beginning of Adam, Eve, Cain, and the corrupt society before the flood!

Obviously, God is perfect. He could have created us in such a way that we would never sin. He could have created a world of perfection that did not need to be destroyed and rebuilt anew. But maybe God wanted us to learn exactly this lesson — the value of starting over. We need to learn that it’s okay to say, “That didn’t work out the way I had hoped. Let’s try something different.”

Living a godly life does not mean that we need to be perfect. It means that we need to keep trying until we get it right.

Your Turn:

Is there something that isn’t right in your life that could use a “do-over?” Pray for the strength to start over again.