Yesterday had been grey and drizzly all day. When I was waiting in the car line at my son’s school in the afternoon, a computerized voice on the radio broke into the regular programming to warn of a fast-moving storm which had conditions that could produce a tornado, and a tornado warning was in effect for the next 45 minutes. Right on cue, raindrops began splattering hard and fast against the windshield, and as I drove up to where my son was waiting, he made a mad dash for the car. Just then I saw another mother and friend herding several children into the cafeteria. She saw me, made a swirling motion with her hand, and mouthed, “Tornado.” I nodded to indicate that I had heard the warning, but I felt sure we could make it home all right. We only live a short distance away — 3 minutes if the lights are green, 10 minutes at most.
As I drove towards the main road, though, I saw low, dark, swirling clouds that had not been there when I came to the school. The rain pounded harder and harder, the sudden onslaught almost flooding the roads. My original plans had been to take my son home and then go run an errand for which I knew he would not want to accompany me, but with the conditions, I decided I’d better stay home until this storm blew over. I had almost not taken the tornado warning seriously, but now it looked as though a tornado could materialize out of the sky at any moment, and I was anxious to get home.
Just before we got to the turn into our subdivision, I was aware of a bright light behind us. The sun was shining! As I waited in the turn lane, I thought I saw a bit of color — I had to blink a couple of times, and it seemed like a rainbow appeared almost right before my eyes. It was a perfect arc, seeming to start on one side of a little red brick church and going over our neighborhood, coming down on the other side. It looked like you could reach out and touch it. It made you want to go look for the end of it just to see if it touched the ground.
Then I noticed that, though the rain had slowed, just above the rainbow the sky was still dark grey. The sunlight was coming from behind us. Just below the rainbow, the sky wasn’t daylight blue, but it was definitely lighter and brighter than the stormy sky. It made the whole area under the arc look like a light-filled globe. I wished I had my camera, but probably neither my camera nor I had the skills to capture the beauty of it.
I have always loved the ethereal beauty of rainbows, and I’ve always loved associating them with God’s promise in Gen. 9:11-17. When my older boys were toddlers they would say the rainbow was “God’s pwomise.” Yet this morning, thinking about the rainbow yesterday being the dividing line between the grey skies and the brighter sky, I realized that God’s promises are often the dividing line between hope and despair in the storms of life. Whether a sudden squall of disaster assails us or a slow-brewing storm erupts over us, only the solid, unmoving, unchangeable promises of God keep up anchored. He has promised that He loves His children and always will. He has promised to supply our needs. He has promised sufficient grace. He has promised to work all things together for good to those who love Him. He has promised new mercies every morning and unfailing compassion. There are multitudes of His promises that we can cling to through the storms of life that will make our skies brighter in comparison to the storm clouds above.
For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall. Isaiah 25:4.
The LORD is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the LORD hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet. Nahum 1:3.
Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses.
He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.
Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven.
Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!
Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast. I will cry unto God most high; unto God that performeth all things for me. Psalm 57:1-2.
(Rainbow photo courtesy of the stock.xchng)