Red-gold beams of sunset were piercing the torn remnants of glowering storm clouds that were fleetly soaring overhead as I pursued completion of my late evening errands last Wednesday. Passing through curtains of rain that kept abruptly starting and ending as if someone were flicking a water faucet on and off, I followed the course of the road as it veered southward. As I did so, a vividly colorful leg of a rainbow came into my line of sight, leaping upward into the sky, fading into the hanging mists.
As that glad sight greeted me, the gloom of the stormy evening seemed to momentarily surrender to the cheer and hope that the rainbow promised. But then, the vision faded and I could no longer see the rainbow when I had passed through to the other side of a downpour: the rainbow seemed gone.
I sighed and drove on, resigning myself to having “lost the rainbow” and my mind soon pressed forward again to all the varieties of activities and responsibilities that lay before me in the days ahead. But, just when I had all but forgotten about the rainbow, before me sprang up the other leg of the rainbow, serenely sure of itself amid all the squalls raging around it and the fading light of the setting sun.
Even so, God’s promises made to us, who dwell in the Valley of Sorrow and Strife, are lifelines of hope and beaming rays of encouragement. We see those promises when we read the Bible with open minds and open hearts. We hear them when they are preached to us from the pulpit. And we come to know them by choosing to trust them while plodding along the paths of life.
Yet we stumble when clouds of worry obscure our blues skies of optimism. We fret when the rains of conflict and difficulty relentlessly pour down upon us and erode our hope. And we often despair when the floodwaters of grief and tragedy rise and threaten to drown us in misery and defeat.
But God did not create us in order to drown us in futility and defeat. He did not send His Son into the world to redeem us from sin’s awful power just so we could dwell forever in the stagnant waters of worldly confusion. After the flood waters had finally dissipated after the Great Flood (chapters 6 & 7 of Genesis), the Lord Himself placed a sign of His determination to lead us through the muck and mire of our selfish preoccupations.
"And God said, ‘This is the sign of the covenant that I make between Me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember My covenant that is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh. And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. 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.’ God said to Noah, ‘This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between Me and all flesh that is on the earth’” (Genesis 9:12-17 ESV).
And though floods have come and submerged different parts of the earth since then, still they are merely faint echoes of the destruction and judgment of the Great Flood of Noah’s day. Never again will He submerge the whole of our planet under water in order to punish all life for the great wickedness of which humanity is capable (see Genesis 6:5-7). How do we know? Because He promised.
When troubles come, we may lose sight of the rainbow of His promises for those who have been saved. We may forget His unfailing love and wonder why bother with being faithful followers of Christ. In our times of discouragement, our hearts may cry out, “Will the Lord spurn forever, and never again be favorable? Has His steadfast love forever ceased? Are His promises at an end for all time?” (Psalm 77:7-8 ESV).
But if we’ll simply cling to His promises of faithfulness to us, His promises to turn “evil” (or painful circumstances) around for good, and His promises of eternal hope and everlasting life, we’ll come through the mists of doubt and finally see “the other end of the rainbow” of each of His promises.
"I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember Your wonders of old. I will ponder all Your work, and meditate on Your mighty deeds. Your way, O God, is holy. What god is great like our God? You are the God Who works wonders; You have made known Your might among the peoples…. When the waters saw You, O God, when the waters saw You, they were afraid; indeed, the deep trembled. The clouds poured out water; the skies gave forth thunder; Your arrows flashed on every side. The crash of Your thunder was in the whirlwind; Your lightnings lighted up the world; the earth trembled and shook. Your way was through the sea, your path through the great waters; yet Your footprints were unseen” (Psalm 77:11-14, 16-19 ESV).
Are you struggling with doubt? Do you wrestle with discouragement? Have your feet faltered and your shoulders become weighed down with a load of resentment or bitterness? If so, lift up your eyes and remember your rainbow. Walk once more through the rains of trial and tribulation, knowing that these will pass in time and that the sun will shine again. Though you might wade through pools of regret or shame, trust God to forgive and wash you from sin and past mistakes. Trust Him to remember you even if you’ve forgotten Him in the past.
“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might He increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:28-31 ESV).
This is a Excellent powerful encouraging beautifully written sermon for The Family of God!
I was so Encouraged and Blessed,Thanks!
"But God did not create us in order to drown us in futility and defeat. He did not send His Son into the world to redeem us from sin’s awful power just so we could dwell forever in the stagnant waters of worldly confusion. After the flood waters had finally dissipated after the Great Flood (chapters 6 & 7 of Genesis), the Lord Himself placed a sign of His determination to lead us through the muck and mire of our selfish preoccupations." powerful words of Encouragement!
" Amen,God Is able to handle all things in our lives and He is Forever Faithful!!!"
In Christ Jesus,