Last week I was on the road for four days traveling for work and church in Tennessee. I was sick most of the week so it had not been the most fun trip overall. As I was beginning my return trip, after driving through a stiff rain and pretty strong winds for quite a few miles, the rain cleared and then I saw a rainbow in my rearview mirror. It was interesting because when I drive through what appeared to be that rainbow’s location (maybe 5 miles back) I could not see anything in that place but rain, strong winds, and storm clouds. Even though I only saw the storm when I was in the midst of it, after I passed on and the effects of the storm had calmed, I could look back in hindsight in my rearview mirror and see the rainbow in the exact location that I had just experienced a storm.
In the midst of a storm, oftentimes we can only see the immediate effects of that storm: the wind, the rain, the lightning, the flooding, the danger, the fear. Rainbows do not come until after the storm is over, but God gives rainbows to his people to remind us of God’s promise to never leave or forsake us in the midst of the storms of this life. God gave the original rainbow to Noah in the aftermath of the worst tragedy and judgment this world has even seen, that all of mankind (less the 8 souls of Noah’s family) was killed. In spite of such a severe judgment from God, the Lord provided a bow in the sky in the aftermath of the great flood to promise that he would never judge the world by water again in like manner. Even though the wickedness of man dictated God’s judgment in Noah’s day, the rainbow serves to remind us that God remains faithful to not forsake his people, especially in the most severe trials of our life. Yes, it might rain for a little bit, even what might appear to be a terrible downpour, but despite how bad it might appear, God has promised he will never let it overtake us; he will never let it get so bad that we will be overcome and destroyed in that storm.
As I continued to drive back home, I began to meditate upon all the rainbows I have seen in my rearview mirror in my life. The hindsight of our lives’ rearview mirror often provides 20/20 clarity that we did not and could not see in the moment, in the midst of the tempest. You oftentimes cannot see how God is working, protecting, and strengthening you in the midst of the storm. You just try to batten down the hatches, keep everyone safe, and tough it out and hold on till the storm passes. But once the storm and danger has passed and calm has arrived, you can look back and see the protection of God in the midst of the storm; you can see the rainbow. You can see how you might have been hurt or injured in the storm but the tree fell away from instead of on your house; yes the power was out, but the power lines did not cause any spark or fire or electrocute anyone; the lightning was intimating but it did not hit the house or vehicle or any other property; we did not suffer any damage to our home or property like others might have during the same storm; these are just a few practical examples to exhibit the protecting hand of God in the midst of a natural storm. In hindsight, in our lives’ rearview mirror, we can see God’s rainbow of faithfulness in the midst of the storm. In the exact same location that we previously feared the storm’s danger and maybe even feared for our safety, we can later look back and see a rainbow token of God’s faithfulness in that storm. I’ve also seen in my life that the more intense and the greater severity of the storm, then it’s aftermath will typically produce an even brighter beauty of its rainbow. The more intense the storms in our lives, the more clearly and evidently we can see how God has blessed us even greater in midst of those challenging and fearful times.
It’s also true that you have to look back at the exact right angle to be able to see a rainbow. Not everyone will see a rainbow after a storm. The rainbow might be there all along but you have to be looking at the exact right perspective and from the exact right angle to be able to see the rainbow. If we do not look at the storms of this life from the right perspective, from the rainbow perspective of God’s faithfulness and protection, even if there is God’s blessing in that situation, we may not see the rainbow of the Lord in the midst of that storm. We can’t control if storms come or know why they come in our life. Remember, Noah had no control over the when, why, or extent of the storm he endured, but God still gave him a rainbow promise reminder that God was there with him blessing and protecting Noah and his family in the midst of the storm. Just know that storms are still inevitable in this world, but they are only for short period and the storm will pass. Storms will come in our lives, but we must trust God’s faithfulness in the midst of that storm. It’s easy to look at the problems of this world and certainly the severe storms of this life and become bitter. We can’t question or blame God for these storms, they are just a part of living in this world. We also don’t want to gloss over the severe reality and danger of the storm but we still need to trust in God’s faithfulness and protection in the midst of the storm. Then we trust, after the storm has passed and the Lord has allowed calmness, we hope to be able to look back on that storm with the proper perspective, from the proper angle and see the Lord’s rainbow in the aftermath of the storm.
It seems I know so many people who are currently in the midst of severe storms of trials, tribulations, and sufferings in this world. Even though the immediate severity, intensity, and danger of the storm can be overwhelming, I pray you can rely upon the covenant rainbow faithfulness of God to never leave you or forsake you in that storm, to give you strength and grace sufficient in the midst of that storm, and I trust God will later give you calmness, clarity, and vision to see the rainbow in the aftermath of this storm in your life.
God moves in a mysterious way; His wonders to perform; He plants his footsteps in the sea; He rides upon the storm.
Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take; The clouds you so much dread; Are big with mercy, and shall break; In blessings on your head.