As my wife, Sharon, and I drove home from the grocery store, we passed in and out of areas of hard driving rain. As we turned into our driveway we echoed each other: “Wow! Look at that!” There was a rainbow in the backyard! It was lightly raining and the sun was peeking through the clouds just enough to make a perfect combination to split the light into the different colors.
The bow started at the blueberry bushes, arced up twenty or thirty feet and came back to the ground about two hundred feet away in the old pasture. The band of colors was at least fifteen feet across and you could clearly see the transitions from the vivid red at the top to the soft violet at the bottom.
We marveled at the sight a few minutes and then took the first load of groceries inside. The thought struck that it might be visible in a photo so I grabbed the camera and hurried back outside. I opened the lens cover….and it fogged up. Going from the air conditioned house into the hot, humid air outside had caused a thin film to form on the lens. By the time I wiped it off enough to get a clear picture, the clouds had blocked the sunlight and the rainbow had disappeared. But, boy was it beautiful while it lasted – what a blessing from the Lord!
In the Bible, we read of an ancient rainbow blessing from the Lord. Genesis, Chapter 6, tells that God grieved over mankind’s continual evil to the point He determined to destroy all the living creatures off the face of the earth. In judgment, He brought the Great Flood and wiped out almost every living thing on the dry land. One of the most wonderful verses in the Bible, Genesis 6:8, tells us why the devastation wasn’t complete: “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” In His mercy and grace, God saved Noah and his family by shutting them safely in the ark Himself.
For forty days and nights the rains came down, the waters in the earth came up, and the world was completely covered. But the ark floated safely through it all. After many months of waiting for the waters to recede, God finally told Noah to bring his family and the animals out onto the dry land once more.
At that time, God promised that as long as the earth remained there would be seedtime and harvest, summer and winter, and day and night. The Lord made a covenant with Noah (and us too) that He would never again destroy the earth with a flood. He told Noah that a rainbow in the clouds would be a token of His covenant.
So, when we see a rainbow we can remember God’s mercy and grace in that He saved a remnant for Himself from the flood – and realize that we came from that remnant. We can be reminded that unless the end of time comes first, God will cause the sun to rise tomorrow morning and this season to pass into the next.
After our back yard show had ended, Sharon and I talked about the fable that says you can find a pot of gold buried at the end of a rainbow. Since one end was in the blueberry bushes we laughingly said that maybe we should dig them up. But then we agreed that the blueberry pies she makes from their fruit are worth more than the gold we might find.
The other end had been in the grass of the old pasture next to our backyard. There were no valuable bushes or trees around to disturb, but there was also nothing in particular to mark its location. It would have required that I dig a lot of holes in hope of finding the right spot. That sounded like too much work, so we decided to forget the gold and just keep the memory of God blessing us with our own private rainbow. We gave each other a kiss, thanked the Lord for the mercy and grace he continually shows us, and went inside to put up the groceries He had blessed us with.