God often speaks to us through the world around us. The other day I saw a storm in the distance. Beneath the dark and heavy clouds, a partial but wide rainbow could be seen. The thought which came to mind, and the inspiration for this article, was that if anyone was under that cloud or in that storm they couldn’t see the rainbow.
The truth that God speaks through the rainbow began with Noah. God’s immediate promise to Noah and all living creatures was to not flood the earth again in the same fashion as Noah’s flood. But there is also a deeper promise which God speaks through His rainbow. It has been expressed in many different ways and I won’t come close to the eloquence of others. The rainbow reminds us of God’s promise to always be with us, even during storms so fierce that we can’t see Him or discern His presence. God’s promise to Joshua is true for us as well, “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the Lord your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6, NASB95)
If I’m standing in the storm, the winds swirling and pushing, the lightning flashing, the thunder echoing, and the rain pouring then I can’t see the rainbow. In the storms of life, when we are helpless before the lashing winds of circumstances God is with us even when we can’t see Him. It may even seem as if we’ve been abandoned to fend for ourselves. Like a baby bird that has been flung from the nest before it is ready, pitiful and hopeless before an angry world, we may feel that God has rejected us in our deepest need.
The truth, of course, is visible to those outside of the storm. Not only is God present but He is manifesting His presence, like that of a rainbow, in ways we may not be able to even imagine. Even though it is invisible to us He is covering us, holding us, comforting us, and carrying us. Some may have horrific tales, times when the ugliness of a situation was so deep that even after many years it is still impossible to see God’s presence. There is no way to answer or know this side of heaven all the ways in which God was present during those times. But, God’s promises are true even when we don’t perceive them or have become blinded to them. It takes distance for the rainbow to become visible. In some storms of life, it is not until we have traveled the distance between earth and heaven that our perspective will allow us to see the fulfillment of God’s promise. “For He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,” so that we confidently say, “The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:5b–6, NASB95)