Looking for Rainbows

“There’s the biggest rainbow outside,” Dad says as he steps into the house.

“I wanna see it!” My four-year-old sister calls from her spot at the dinner table. In the seat next to her, I twirl my fork through my pasta salad and yawn because it’s a Thursday evening, and there’s usually a lot of that happening by this point in the week.

“You have to see it from out on the road,” Dad says as he sets his keys on the entryway table and walks into the kitchen.

“Can I go see it?” Little sister Ellen asks as she bounces in her seat.

So we agree to pause dinner and Dad agrees to take her. Abby and I decide we might as well go, too.

“Yay! The sisters are coming!” Ellen squeals as she skips to the door in her self-selected outfit of flowery leggings, striped skirt, a turtle neck, and flip-flops (flip-flops are necessary because it is, after all, still summer weather).

We pile into the car and drive through the neighborhood. Abby rides shotgun and takes pictures with a cell phone, per Ellen’s request.

In the back seat, Ellen wraps her fingers around mine and cranes her neck to peer between the raindrops on the window in hopes of catching a glimpse of this rainbow.

I hold onto her tiny hand and pretend I can absorb some of that preschooler energy and excitement that comes to her in bulk like she got it at Costco.

“Oh, there it is,” Abby says as she aims the phone at the sky. So we roll down the windows as Dad slows the car and we lean out and see a huge rainbow.

It’s beautiful. The colors are all defined, and it seems to stretch from the depths of the earth up through the clouds and into the realm of the eternal.

We ooh and aah for a moment, then Abby asks: “What does the rainbow mean, Ellen?”

Ellen thinks for a second. “Oh, I know!” says the kid who always talks in exclamation points. “God will never flood the earth again!”

***

Ellen’s only walked around on this planet for four and a half years, but she’s already learning about the significance of rainbows. She doesn’t know about covenants or prophecies or anything deeply theological, but she knows God made a promise long ago that He still keeps today.

As we drove home and finally ate our pork chops, and then later as I sat in my room writing a paper, I thought about the rainbow. I thought about how it’s the sign of a promise.

And then I thought about how we so often desperately try to chase down signs of God’s promises. We so badly want to see Him at work in our lives that we go crazy trying to pinpoint where He’s at work. We get so caught up in trying to figure it all out that we miss who He is and what He’s doing right here, right now.

See, there’s a part of our rainbow hunt story I didn’t tell you yet:

When we got home and climbed out of the car, we looked up, and there was the rainbow, visible from our driveway. A sign of God’s faithfulness right in front of us…we were just too  rushed to notice it.

I need to slow down and be fully present in the moments God places me in. Because He’s right here, He’s at work in my life, and He will show me glimpses of Himself if I just learn to abide in Him.

If I live life with the excitement of a four-year-old, who grins with wide-eyed happiness when we applaud her for remembering what a rainbow means.

When I fully embrace this season I’m in instead of frantically trying to line up the what’s-next or sort through the what’s-been.

When I abide and absorb and acknowledge God for who He is and what He’s doing this very second…even when clouds roll in and the rainbow is covered by foggy uncertainty.

Because even when you can’t see the rainbow, the promise remains. His glory still happens and He still whispers in the breeze: I know you and I love you and I want you to take My hand and trust Me. I know you can’t see what’s next, but I can. And my plans are for your good and for My glory. 

And that still, small voice whispers the same to you.

Look up and feel His nearness. He hasn’t forgotten His promises to you. 

“When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” – Genesis 9:16

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