I love to see a beautiful rainbow at the end of a storm, don’t you?! I’ve even seen the occasional double rainbow emerging as the sun begins to shine, leaving a lustrous shimmering sheen on everything wet. Then there’s that elusive pot of gold we joke about finding at its end… wouldn’t we be rich!
Rainbows have come to symbolize many things. Since the early 1970s, the rainbow has represented the LGBT community with bright bold colors, used by gays as far back as the 19th century to identify themselves. In some cultures, rainbows are a bad omen, a portent of evil, while on the flip side they’re said to bring good luck, especially double rainbows.
But spiritually and biblically, the rainbow represents God’s love and covenant to all of mankind that never again would He destroy the earth. In that one-and-only 40-day flooding deluge of rain, only Noah and his family members survived in the ark he built because of their faith in the one true God… while the rest of the world mocked Noah and worshiped their false gods. With representation in twos, male and female of every living creature, including mankind represented by Noah’s faithful family, that must have been one full and noisy ark!
After the storm, Noah and his family saw a magnificent rainbow as they left the ark. “God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.” So God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth.” (Genesis 9:12-17 NIV)
And what a blessing of love and hope God gave us as represented by that rainbow! We are showered with mercy and grace when we come to Him in faith, admit our sins, and ask for His forgiveness. We all face the difficult trials of life, some more than others it seems. As one of America’s favorite poets, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, once penned, “Into each life some rain must fall.”
“Be still, sad heart! and cease repining;
Behind the clouds is the sun still shining;
Thy fate is the common fate of all,
Into each life some rain must fall,
Some days must be dark and dreary.”
Yet, just like the rainbow given as a sign to Noah after the flood, God has promised He will be with us, and never leave us… forever. (Matthew 28:20)
I’ve always been touched by the story of Israel’s Joseph, sold into slavery by his jealous brothers. Taken to Egypt to become a slave, and though a faithful servant, he was falsely charged and imprisoned for many years. Eventually released by Pharaoh for his ability to interpret the king’s dreams, he became second in command! As a “prime minister,” Joseph led the nation through tremendous harvest successes followed by extreme drought and famine. During the famine, his brothers sought assistance from the foreign nation, not knowing their younger brother was in control of grain disbursement. When later identifying himself to his brothers, Joseph shared how God had blessed him through the difficulties, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good.” (Genesis 50:20)
Though we all face our own share of difficulties, we have the hope that our gracious Lord will walk beside us, guide us, and see us through the storms. As Joshua told the nation of Israel on going into the Promised Land, “Be strong and Courageous. Do not fear… for the Lord your God goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6)
Many generations later, the Apostle Paul wrote that he had asked God three times to remove the thorn with which he suffered. Instead, God’s response was simply, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness…” Paul was able to boast in his hardships because it was then he felt Christ strengthen him, “For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (II Corinthians 12:7-10)
Yet, all too often, like me, we often see only the bad in the difficult situation… initially at least. When we raise our eyes to see how God walks through the storm with us, we see the good, the blessing, that comes as we look back in hindsight. Paul reassured us by saying, “And we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
The beautiful rainbow arching across the sky after the storm is a beautiful reminder of God’s love for us, His gift of salvation, His promise to always be with us… no matter what!
The Rainbow’s End
Linda A. Roorda
The richest treasures at the rainbow’s end
Reveal the blessings of abundant grace
Joy from the heart to brighten your way
Wrapped up in love and joy unending.
Yet the pot of gold always out of reach
Taunts our goals with pursuits of pleasure
Tempting the heart to envy another
To yearn for more that’s not ours to gain.
But when we release our wants for more
And humbly embrace to persevere
We face the trials standing firm in faith
As blessings pour out from our Father above.
Such treasures rich we cannot fathom
For in His plan all things work together
That from a rough path we find His promise
And see His face at the rainbow’s end.