Sometimes, I forget to remember God's promises. I become so focused on the pain, the trial, or the hurt. I lose perspective because that's all I see... I fill my heart and mind with the thunderstorm, but I can't see beyond that.
And then God sends me a reminder... my own personal "rainbow" of promise, love, and hope.
Last Saturday morning I found out that my dear Uncle David had a malignant tumor in his colon. I was shocked, upset, afraid, and really needing to be home in Mississippi with my family.
Blanket spread out under me, flowers surrounding me, and clear azure sky above me, I listened to Uncle David on the phone, courage and hope filling his voice even as I sat with salty tear drops filling and overflowing from my eyes. The beauty of the day seemed in stark contrast to the news, my heart feeling mocked. While both the beauty around me and the voice in the phone spoke of peace and contentment and goodness, all I could think about was the battle to come... my dark fears casting shadows on the day.
Unexpectedly, blue sky darkened...... The earth shook with the sound of thunder, and my eyes were blinded by the flashes of lightning... so blinded that the beauty witnessed only seconds earlier was a distant memory. The cloudless blue sky seemed lost to the tempest that darkened the door unawares.
My heart, already filled with shadows, sunk deeper still, firmly believing that the flowers, freshly planted and hanging at my window, could not possibly last through such a horrific storm. So I waited.... believing damage would be discovered after the storm disappeared... and also firmly believing that with skies so dark, the storm would most assuredly last the whole day.
Then, as quickly as the black clouds came, they disappeared, revealing the same cloudless bright blue that had reigned earlier.
No, not the same... better. Deeper and more vibrant.
The flowers stood taller, strengthened and renewed by the storm.
And I stood taller, strengthened and renewed by the storm.
In that moment I was struck by the reminder of God's promises and presence. My focus shifted from the darkness of my fears to the beauty that came after the storm, the deep and vibrant and renewed beauty. And I felt hope. Because God made a sacred promise to never test us beyond what we can handle. He promised to provide meaning in the trials, for He alone makes all things good. He promised rainbows to remind us to have hope in the storm.
I'm holding on to His promises. I'm clinging to His hope.
My dear uncle is being used by God, especially in this trial, and I'm so thankful for the light he is shining for Christ. He is hope-filled and God-glorifying, focusing not on the fear or trials ahead, but on the God-given meaning amidst the trials.
In that, pain finds a purpose, and a life with pain is not hopeless.
The storm only lasts so long, Beloved... the sun will shine again. And if we cling to the promise and meaning that God gives to the pain, we will be refined, strengthened, and renewed by the trials... standing taller with a deeper, more vibrant beauty than before.
"Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning."
"I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, 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. 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.”