What Rainbows Taught Me About Life

The other day I was driving along on the way to work. It was raining and the traffic wasn’t ideal. I was sitting still at the traffic light when I all of sudden saw a beautiful rainbow.

Rainbows, at least to me, are a symbol. A physical reminder of a promise. So whenever I see a rainbow I can’t help think two things, “promise” and “I need to get my camera and take a photo”.

So that morning as I pulled my camera out to take a photo I was struck by a realisation. It was still raining while the rainbow was out. I think based on all the bible stories I’d read and perhaps my personal experience I’d always thought that rainbows only occurred after it rained, not during.

I realised that this is often the case in life. God gives us a promise. We have a dream or a goal that we are holding on to, our rainbow. Sometimes life gets hard and it rains. Life can sometimes feel like that. Rain and dreariness. How like God to remind me that sometimes the answer to our questions, the promise being fulfilled – is seen during and in the midst of our trial. A rainbow in the rain. A promise in the midst of pain.

Not too long after this I was driving in the rain, this time home from work. It had only lightly rained but I was happy to look out my window and see a small rainbow. Of course I thought “promise” and then I pulled my phone out to take a quick snap. Based on my previous thoughts on rainbows I was interested to see that once again it was still raining while the rainbow was out. I wanted to capture that memory so I was trying to get both the rain and the rainbow in the shot. Hopefully you’ve used an iphone or other camera phones are similar but when you tap your screen and focus on something in the foreground – the background fades out and if you tap something in the background.. you get the picture. If I focussed on the rain, I lost the rainbow. If I focussed on the rainbow, I lost the rain.

It got me thinking about how like life this is. If you focus on the problems in your life – you inevitably lose sight of the promises. But if you focus in on the promise, the problem fades away. Where’s your focus? What are choosing to “tap” your focus into? It’s not easy to focus on both your pain and the promises of freedom, so which one will you focus on? Watch one of them fade away in the background.

Tonight I went for a run in the rain. It had poured rain on the way home (classic Brisbane weather) in a quick but intense storm. I almost decided not to run but it cleared a little as I drove home and so reluctantly got my gear on and found a really high tech solution to keep my phone dry (plastic baggy). As soon I walked out the door I was struck by the most beautiful rainbow I’d ever seen. It was so full and big and beautiful. What a treat to run with this as my view! As I was running I was thinking about the other rainbows I’d seen over the last month and how they were lovely but they weren’t even close to being as spectacular as the one I was seeing now. Instantly I was reminded of the very intense storm I drove through on the way home and wondered if that had something to do with the size and beauty of this rainbow.

It made me think of some of the trials and challenges we go through in life. Some are difficult for sure and definitely challenging – but some are torture. The loss of a loved one. A sickness with no cure. Long term unemployment. Waiting for love. Waiting for answers. Waiting for hope. Sometimes we look at the end result, the beautiful diamond or stunning rainbow and we neglect to think of how it got that way – through refinement, through a storm. The more intense the storm, the more beautiful the rainbow. The more intense the storm of life, the more beautiful the outcome.

So while it’s raining in your world – think of the promise that is being outworked even in the midst of your yuck. When it’s pouring all around you, focus on the promise not the problem. When the storm rages – think of the beautiful rainbow He is creating in you.

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