This morning when my alarm went off at 6:30, I heard the slow pattering of raindrops slowing down and then coming to a stop. My heart swelled with joy at the thought of having my feet hit the pavement to run in the sweet, fresh, just-after-the-rain air. The clouds were clearing and the sun was trying to peek out of the clouds in the low eastern sky. After about a mile and a half, I was at my half-way point of my three-mile loop, and it started sprinkling again. I was turning west on the bike path and there before me was a huge, full rainbow. Gorgeous.
Just beyond the rainbow, however, was a large gray thundercloud. I stood there for awhile, determining if I should turn around and run straight home the way I had come, or if I should head west into the full rainbow, and therefore into the thundercloud.
The rainbow was too beautiful for me to turn my back. It drew me toward it. I don't think I've ever run straight into a full rainbow. As I ran west, the sprinkles turned into a full rain and then into a downpour. The rainbow grew darker and darker until it was totally covered in the huge grey thundercloud.
But for the short time I got to run toward it, it was beautiful and totally worth it. And then as the rain became an all-out downpour, it was extremely refreshing and soul-cleansing.
And as I ran in the rain with thunder booming all around me, God filled my mind with promises of His faithfulness. Despite all of the current cultural connotations of what a rainbow might mean, rainbows are first and foremost, always and forever signs of God's faithfulness to His people. He set His bow amidst the clouds so that we would know He loves us, is faithful to us, and will not forsake or abandon us. That is what it meant in Genesis, and that's what it means in Revelation, and that's what it means every moment in between.
In our family life the last couple years, we've been running through thunderclouds. We've gotten drenched and soaked by many storms. On my run this morning, I saw the rainbow before I got drenched. But that's not usually the case. Usually, we have to go through the thunderstorm before we see the rainbow.
Sometimes, we won't even see the rainbow on this side of Heaven.
As you likely know if you read my blog, our biggest thunderstorm of our family life thus far has been losing my Mom two years ago. Our family is healing, and I can see God's faithfulness all around. And I know for certainty that there will be a glorious rainbow awaiting with a heavenly reunion one day. The thunderstorm will fade into beauty. But oh my has it drenched me along the way.
Simultaneously to losing my Mom, we've changed churches. We had been incredibly invested in our church for a decade, and likewise, our church had invested in our family in significant, profound ways. And yet, for some reasons we already know, and purposes we have yet to discover, God made it abundantly clear that He was calling our family elsewhere.
I resisted God on this for a long time, but He finally convinced us that He was closing our time at one church and beginning our time at another church. I've described this transition as one of the hardest things I've gone through, second to losing my mom. To some of you that sounds crazy, but some of you relate. It was a time of major grief and loss and confusion.
And yet, as God faithfully brought us to a new church home, we're seeing rainbows. God is faithful. He is breathing new life into our family that I didn't even know we needed. He is drawing our marriage closer together in ways I didn't know we needed. He is reviving our hearts for Him in ways I didn't know we needed. Rainbows.
As we have adjusted to life without my Mom and had baby #4, we determined that I needed to cut back on traveling and speaking...my burning passion. So we put it on the back burner for a year. It ached, yet, in the wake of that struggle, I started writing. I've even started my first book now (you can pray for that!). And now it looks like God is opening doors again to speak. Rainbows. But either way, God is faithful.
Amidst these things, as last winter raged on, I had to finally admit that I was depressed. I resisted for a long time. But with January's utter cold, the storm inside me got worse until Paul suggested it was time for me to go to the doctor. And medicine has been a rainbow, let me tell you. God is faithful.
I'm not sharing these struggles as a means of complaint or lament. My life is tremendously blessed with a million moments of fun, joy, and laughter and the richness of family and health. I'm just trying to be real about the inevitable storms of life that we all have.
We have to go through the storms, friends. It seems so easy to turn and run the other direction because we don't want to get wet. The storm is fierce and we would rather avoid it. But I can assure you this, because God assures us first, that no matter how fierce the storm, His love is fiercer. No matter how daunting the raging the storm is, His faithfulness will shine all the brighter.
Some of my dear friends that may be reading this have gone through storms, or currently are, that make my storms look like sprinkles. I know, and I'm not ignorant of that. And I know that some of your storms will not provide rainbows on this side of heaven. But I also know that though you might not see the rainbow on earth, God's faithfulness will never leave you. And glorious rainbows in Heaven await all those whose hope is in Christ as we go through the storms on earth.
So, what are your storms, and where have you seen rainbows?
Run toward the rainbow, friends. God is faithful.
When you pass through the waters,