I wrote this entry several years ago, but given new grief, both in my life and in others’ dear to me, it seemed like a good day to run it again:
Yesterday, given a 36 hour retreat at a friend’s sanctuary by the sea, I headed out to the beach early to capture the beauty before clouds overtook the sun and grayed the day. I had brought my camera in case I saw any beautiful cloud formations, one of my favorite photographic subjects. I took a picture of the cloud before I saw the sign.
It wasn’t a well-formed rainbow, and I’m afraid some scientist might explain to me exactly what I saw there in terms of the reflection of the sun’s rays and water blah blah blah…But it was a rainbow, if only a fragment of one, and it spoke to me of God’s mercy and grace in time of need.
It has been several weeks of significant losses, both in my own life, and in lives of people very close to me. Strange, sudden, sorrowful deaths have shattered stories of people I love or of friends of people I love. Especially for these loved ones, it is a season of wandering and wondering, as my eldest son put it yesterday, “Is there a point to all of this? Does what I’m doing matter?” I told him, “There are seasons when it looks like death, disease, darkness, and disaster have won. But don’t believe it. Soon, very soon, you will see again that redemption has won. New life is growing, even where we can’t see it. God’s mercy is working, even when we don’t feel it.”
In the midst of these musings, I saw the bow in the cloud. God tells Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and everything living around you and everyone living after you. I’m putting my rainbow in the clouds, a sign of the covenant between me and the Earth. From now on, when I form a cloud over the Earth and the rainbow appears in the cloud, I’ll remember my covenant between me and you and everything living, that never again will floodwaters destroy all life. When the rainbow appears in the cloud, I’ll see it and remember the eternal covenant between God and everything living, every last living creature on Earth.” (Genesis 9:9-16).
God’s covenant with Noah was not the final covenant though. Christ fulfilled the promise that God would fully redeem and restore the broken world. Whether you see the rainbow or not, it is true! Christ has won the victory over sin and death; the promise is fulfilled, and there are signs pointing to the one day when God shall wipe away all tears, remove all mourning, heal all disease, and death will be no more!