One thing that is completely different between the Midwest and the mountains of Virginia is the weather. In the Midwest, you can see a storm coming from miles away. The divide in the sky is clear and always moves the same direction. In the mountains rain will arrive randomly, sections of the county will receive inches of snow while others will only receive rain.
Over the months here I’ve learned to expect the rainbows. Because of the terrain, I don’t always get to see them in person. There will be Facebook pictures later. I’ve seen my fair share, there was a full week in August where a rainbow could be seen on the football field or our college campus this past year.
I walked out of a building the other day, and it was sprinkling. I smiled and looked up. The sun was shining, and I thought there is a rainbow somewhere! I can’t begin to tell you how surprised I was by my thought, and pleased at the same time. I’m starting to expect hope.
I’m learning to expect the presence of the rainbow even when I can’t see it, and cling to the promise that the rainbow symbolizes as well.
In Genesis 9 God reveals the first rainbow to Noah and his family.
“8 Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him: 9 “I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you 10 and with every living creature that was with you—the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you—every living creature on earth. 11 I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.”
12 And 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: 13 I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 Whenever I bring clouds over the earth, and the rainbow appears in the clouds, 15 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. 16 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.”
17 So God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth.” “
God created a covenant with all creatures in the land that He would never destroy ALL life again by a flood. There are certain seasons where it feels like the rain won’t stop but since the time of Noah the entire earth has not seen a flood again. Scholars debate whether the whole earth was indeed covered or if it was merely Noah’s area. Honestly, I take things literally. God inspired scripture, and there is no reason to exaggerate. I add that in to say that because I take this story, literally the promise in Genesis 9 holds true.
Here’s the thing for me about this promise. If I can cling to this one, I can cling to all of them. God’s promises can seem far away at times. It can seem as if they have been broken or don’t apply to me. When I go back to the promise of the rainbow, it reminds me that all God’s promises are true.
Seeing a rainbow and remembering a promise is one thing. I’m learning to trust and expect the promise even when I can’t see it. If I can trust the rainbow promise, I can trust any promise from God regardless of what life circumstances seem to reveal.