Taking a closer look at God's gifts...

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Through the Rainbow

I wasn't really this close to a rainbow, although it sure seemed that way when I looked through the camera lens. I zoomed in on this beauty to get a closer look at the colors. It worked. I count six stripes--more than I've ever seen at once in a rainbow.

Most Christians know the rainbow is a sign of God's covenant with mankind that He will never again send a flood to destroy the earth. That doesn't mean great floods won't occur or that humans won't suffer as a result of tsunamis, overflowing rivers and lakes, rising ocean levels or raging hurricanes--just that they won't completely destroy the earth.

We can do that all by ourselves.

We see a lot of rainbows in this part of Alaska. I imagine it has something to do with the mountains all around us and the proximity of the waters of the Cook Inlet and the Pacific ocean beyond, as well as the abundance of rain during the summer.

Seeing one (or better yet, a double one) always brings a smile. It's not just their beauty that stuns me, it's also the way God has chosen to remind us of His promise. He could have used a cloud or a twinkling star, even a thundercloud or flash of lightning. But those would be difficult to detect, frightening, or dangerous. Instead He chose a glorious arch of diaphanous pastel colors against the backdrop of dark clouds, all created by the rays of the sun shining through (and in spite of) those clouds and the rain they've produced. Hard to miss, right? He chose something so beautiful, so overarching and magnificent that all it takes is one glance upward to read His message.

And through those bands of beauty, we can see what lies beyond. In this case, I saw the mountainside, trees, and rocky peaks. Seen at a different angle, I might have seen billboards, a busy street, farmland, or any other vista found on earth. What's important is not what we see beyond the rainbow, but that we can see it.

I read the message this way: "Things have been gloomy recently, but you can get through this by viewing these circumstances through the beauty of My promise to you to whatever lies beyond this hardship--that busy street, that slum, that ocean, or endless prairie, that illness, grief, or adversity in any form--whatever path you have to traverse. See my promise and know that I, your Heavenly Father, am in these trying circumstances with you."

Rainbows. What delicate creations, what unexpected delights. He didn't have to make them for us, you know. What would we have done had we never seen one? Turn to one another and say, "You know what's missing here? A band of pastel, transparent stripes that arch over the landscape when the sun and rainclouds are both in the sky. Yeah, that's what He should have given us."

Of course, you have to be looking up to see one, but then, that's what He intended all along, wasn't it?

See you along the trail...

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