When I am one day looking back across my life from the end of it, I’m confident I’ll say that first rainbow was everything. It truly changed me.
Because that’s when I recognized God’s faithfulness can be found in the sky. That he uses the heavens to communicate his affection for us.
Until then, I guess I’d believed such thinking a little stale and worn out, such a viewpoint from the ground idealistic, cliché. Everyone knows rainbows are beautiful. There's something about them that causes every human heart to take notice. We are wired for connection with the beautiful.
But when did beautiful become beautiful apart from God?
When God sent me a rainbow that day, it was the most magnificent, on-point communique I have ever received. A clear message, at just the right time. You see, it appeared right over the plane my teenaged daughter was on, just after I'd prayed for her safety during the flight she was about to take to California.
Air travel was something I had a troubled connection with. Plane crashes, highlighted with the loss of my father in a commercial flight when I was in my early 20s, etched my past with deep, emotive crevices that were difficult to get across. They seemed vicious irony at best, harbingers of things to come at worst. So when the threat of loss taunted from the horizon again, when the skies seemed to boast of their ability to take my precious child too, my heart was heavily laden with possibility.
What could I do but beg God for her protection?
It was exactly at this point that a crazy, FULL rainbow appeared over her plane, and only her plane, still docked at the gate.
There wasn't a cloud in the sky.
So supernatural was the sight, a flight attendant next to me told me she had goosebumps. Yes, well, so did I.
It was at that moment that I realized God...was in love with me.
And so that first rainbow became one of my tenderest moments with my tender God. One who cared enough to reassure me that all would be well. I understood that rainbow at just the time I finished praying to be his promise to me.
Imagine. A rainbow as a promise!
They're bridges to the heart of God, One who gently reminds the past has been purchased, the future secured.
No matter the time of year, rainbows are his gift to us, his love painted wide across the sky. Though the seasons may be bursting with color, withered brown, or bleached white, color waits. Behind purple clouds, in the storm, across the horizon, and when the night is dark too. When it seems impossible.
Because there is always light.
At just the right moment.
And so I find them everywhere, light refracted when I need it most.
I’ve seen them in oil paintings on museum walls and as images on cell phones, when I water my garden in the summer sunshine, across my land in a spring rain, and in a shimmery, early morning mist. I’ve seen them in waterfalls and across the ocean, as friendly reminders in clusters across my television set when the light hits it just right and on compact discs too, as well as in the simple act of filling my water glass, prisms in droplets.
Every single one of my rainbows has appeared at just the right time supernaturally, coincidence on top of coincidence, right when I was able to receive the message, precisely when I needed them most-the rainbow painted on the wall when awaiting a daughter's chest x-ray, the one on the floor when I was waiting for test results of my own, when light came in through a window above, scattering symbolic color beneath my feet. The one my son, a railway conductor, took from the front of his train’s engine and sent me just as I had finished praying for his safety at work—a full rainbow with an end right on the tracks in front of that train.
I’ve even seen rainbows in my dreams.
Like God, they’re everywhere.
At just the right time. Every time.
Promise on top of promise, knit within the smallest sub-atomic particle and exploding across the galaxies, each seen and unseen unit of creation holds the story!
Light connects it all together.
Oh, the physical science that proves the real God! Oh, the symbolism that abounds!
And oh, the mystique that remains, the ways of God we can’t understand, as mysterious as the gravity which keeps us where we need to be for now. But hope we know. It’s all around us, in the atmosphere, deep in our bones. It draws us in, causes us to press in, closer. Closer. An opportunity to understand our Creator’s heart! Discernment is a product of intimacy. Light the result of discernment.
There really is no place the light cannot reach.
No season without The Rainbow Connection.
“…The voice might be one in the same.
I've heard it too many times to ignore it It's something that I'm supposed to be Someday we'll find it The rainbow connection The lovers, the dreamers and me.”
– Paul Williams, The Rainbow Connection, 1979