Dark rain clouds lingered on the horizon, cradled by the distant green hills. As the sky cleared and long evening shadows reappeared a sliver of color glowed bright against the retreating darkness. I watched, mesmerized as a matching sliver appeared opposite the original and the two began to slowly reach for one another across the clouds. Carefully they crawled across the sky, finally meeting in the center and standing proudly as one beautiful reminder of God’s never-failing promise.
My husband and I continued our late-afternoon walk, coming upon a wooden bridge spanning a narrow lake. In the quiet stillness of the water there it was, the rainbow below mirroring the beauty above.
Earth reflecting Heaven.
And it was my birthday.
God was showing off just for me, I was convinced. I felt loved and I felt seen.
Isn’t that the best gift of all?
As I pondered His gift to me, this beautiful reflection, I thought back over the years. (46 of them!) Like Much-Afraid in the book, Hinds Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard, I pulled the stones of remembrance out of my pocket and reminded myself of who my God is and how far I have come.
I’m 46 now. Not old, but certainly not young. With age comes clarity…the ability to look back on life through the lens of experience. Mistakes and failures more often find context and, if we are wise, help us walk through current struggles with increased faith in the One who has brought us this far.
The truth is, sometimes all we can see is the storm. Sometimes we can barely make out the colors of a broken rainbow. We reach and grasp but hope is elusive as we face another torrent and God seems so far away. But as we watch, focusing on the glimmer of hope on the horizon, the rainbow grows and stretches across the dark sky and stands tall and proud over our lives, reminding us that God IS who He says He is and God WILL do what He says He will do.
Will He do it my way? Probably not. Will He come through when I think He should, maybe but often not likely. But will He give context to our suffering and strength to endure the storm? Yes, absolutely. In this world, you can bet you will have trouble. Storms will threaten and thunder will rumble fiercely in the distance. Lightning may even strike too close to home. But take heart, sweet friend. Your Jesus has overcome. Look, there, in your pocket. Do you feel them? Take them out, holding them loosely in your palm as you remember that time God came through, that prayer He answered, the way He turned things around and did what had seemed impossible. Rub your thumb across the surface of a stone and breathe in the never-ending promises of God. Breathe out unbelief, cynicism, fear. He is who He says He is and He will do what He says He will do!
Stand in the rain. Let it wash over you and feel the gentle arms of your Father lifting your chin as you choose to trust again. Look at how He is using your life. You, an earth-bound citizen of Heaven, reflecting the glory of God to a lost and dying world. Watch the colors, the beginning and the end of your story, reach toward one another and meet in a glorious display of His promises fulfilled.
You and I, we aren’t call to be the rainbow. God doesn’t ask us to hold up the promise ourselves. We are called to reflect His glory, to be still and let Him use us.
That is a hard one for me, being still. My mind likes to run a mile-a-minute and try to figure out how to fix all the issues I face in my own power. It’s exhausting. I try to grab the ends of the rainbow and force them together, willing them to stick.
I’m working on stillness. It’s a long and often painful process, learning to trust God. Especially when things get messy.
And things are very often messy.
But, try as I might, I cannot get the ends of my story to meet and be beautiful. God can, though. And He does. Then? In my stillness appears the reflection of His glory. HE gets the credit. HE gets the praise. He completes the rainbow and graces the earth with beauty after the storm.
This is our goal…quiet trust. Stillness. Simple faith. A life of victory over the darkness, shining light into the shadows. Fighting for the Kingdom but never in our own strength. A life of rest in our spirits despite the whirling and swirling of the world around us.
So, tonight as I end my birthday, this is my prayer for you and for me…it is very simple but, I believe, very powerful:
May we serve as quiet waters, reflecting the beauty of Jesus.