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.

The Moon

When someone graduates from being a friend, to being a really great friend to being one of your best, a number of things are typically involved. These are; mutual interests, shared values, respect, honesty and a whole lot of time. You really have to invest your time into friendships to make them truly valuable. One of the side effects of such an investment is what I like to call ‘friendship synchronization’ or to make it plain ‘tracking’.

It’s the interesting and sort of beautiful point in a relationship where you realise you’re on the same page and you like the same things. Whether or not you liked those things before the friendship is a little bit hard to decipher. Did you already love it? Or did your friend love it and somehow you ‘synced’ your interests. Whatever you want to call it, the reason for this current obsession is a result of friendship synchronization.

I LOVE the moon.

I have this friend and we love the moon together. I’ll be honest and say that I think she loved the moon first and subconsciously through the process of tracking, I grew to really love something she appreciated. The same goes with another of my friends who is a florist. I used to always ‘like’ flowers, but now I REALLY like them. Tracking.

I never disliked the moon but I never really paid much attention to it until recently. I find myself driving to scenic locations and moon gaze discussing and trying to ascertain how it all works up there. I now keep track of time via the moon and find myself saying things like ‘How can it be New Moon already?’ and I’m not even talking about Twilight you guys. And by twilight I obviously don’t mean the most beauteous time of day, I mean Edward Cullen and what not. Which I’m not talking about, to be clear.

I think I like the moon for a few reasons, it’s beauty of course, but also it’s mystery. To me, it’s a puzzle I’m still trying to figure out. No matter how many articles I read or how many times I try and recall primary school, it doesn’t 100% make sense to me. I need someone to create me a working solar system model because I just can’t fathom the craziness that is the moon.

Maybe you know this.. but the moon is always there. Like, always.

Lunar phase or phase of the moon refers to the shape of the illuminated (sunlit) portion of the Moon as seen by an observer, usually on Earth. The lunar phases change cyclically as the Moon orbits the Earth, according to the changing relative positions of the Earth, Moon, and Sun. The half of the lunar surface facing the Sun is always sunlit, but the portion of this illuminated hemisphere that is visible to an observer on Earth can vary from about 100% (full moon) to 0% (new moon). Wikipedia.

The moon is actually dark. I know it looks like the brightest object in the sky, but it’s not. Ever heard of the phrase ‘dark side of the moon’ or watched the Transformer movie? Yeah the moon is the dark, go figure.

The far side is often called the “dark side”, but in fact, it is illuminated as often as the near side: once per lunar day, during the new moon phase we observe on Earth when the near side is dark. The Moon has an exceptionally low albedo, giving it a reflectance that is slightly brighter than that of worn asphalt. Despite this, it is the second brightest object in the sky after the Sun. Wikipedia.

I gave you the technical facts so as to balance out how terribly I’d explain the solar system to you.

No matter what I know technically about the moon and its constant presence, I know that I view the moon as a temporal object. It comes and goes, it is full and it is crescent. I state things like ‘look the moon came out tonight’ when in actual fact, the moon is just visible tonight.

Don’t you think that’s a little bit like our relationship with God? Sometimes we can see him at work. At His brightest, his fullest. Our lives have ‘Christ at Work’ stamped all over it. Other times it’s just alright, we’re like a crescent moon where things are steady. Not crazy, just alright. And then there are times when it feels like God has gone and left us. That we are alone and we can’t see him, or feel him and that he has left us to fight on our own. And that, is a lie.

I think I love the moon because it reminds me that God is like the moon. He is always there, we can’t always see it but he is. It’s just a spiritual fact.

I think I also love the moon because of the way it confuses people into thinking it’s a bright object. It’s not and I love that it has us all fooled. The moon is a reflection of the sun.

God is like the moon, but He actually isn’t. He’s actually the Sun.

We are like the moon. We are a reflection of his light. We are not in ourselves capable of crazy feats of greatness and courage and wisdom and hope, however we spend our days attempting to reflect just a portion, a slither, a crescent of the brightness that is God.

 That’s why I love the moon. That’s why I love the Son.

Like the moon we borrow our light. I am nothing but a shadow in the night. If you let me I will catch fire, to let your glory and mercy shine. Paramore.

The Meaning in the Meantime

Have you ever noticed that when people are going through a rough patch in life, they will often describe it as a phase? They describe the season and often couple it with a ‘hopefully it’s just a phase’. It’s like they know they are just in a season and at some point this season will end and they will come out the other side. Somehow, through a mix of personal experience, the word and guidance from others, we seem to be aware that rough seasons SHOULD end and so we hope and pray that they will and that we learn some lessons in the meantime.

In the meantime.

n.  The time between one occurrence and another; an interval.
adv.  During a period of intervening time; meanwhile.

I don’t know about you but the meantime is kind of the worst time. If I was in charge of dictionary’s I would add a third meaning which would say..

The time in which one feels stuck, trapped and is hoping and praying something better is around the corner.

It almost feels like wasted time. The very definition leads us to believe that it’s the blank page in between your story. The nothing stage.

I’m asking God for direction. Getting nothing.
I’m stuck between where I am and where I want to be. Going nowhere.
I feel like I’m banging my head against a brick wall – getting nothing done and going nowhere fast.

The problem is when the meantime lasts for a long time. When the phase seems less and less like a passing thing and more like a permanent reality. You start to get a bit edgy. Restless. Mad. And unfortunately, in the meantime is when we often make a lot of our biggest mistakes. We take the season into our own hands and things start to get a bit messy.

What is the meaning of the meantime? Why am I still here? Why am I still stuck?

I’m sorry that I can’t reach through whatever device you are reading this from and give you the answer’s to your whys. I wish I could. I wish I knew the reason for the phase I’m going through. I wish the meantime didn’t feel like the nothing stage. I wish that for you. I can’t promise your phase is nearly over. I can’t promise it will make sense, even when the season ends.

All I know, is there is eternal meaning in the meantime. For those stuck in an unfortunate season..

In the meantime, pray even when you aren’t getting an answer.
In the meantime, learn something about yourself and your God.
In the meantime, surround yourself with the right things and the right people.
In the meantime, worship even when it’s the last thing you want to do.
In the meantime.. wait.. hope.. trust.

O Holy Night

O Holy Night is my favourite Christmas carol. Or at least one of my favourite Christmas carols. I’m fairly partial to God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman and Carol of the Bells. But that’s not important right now.

I love but have also been confused by some of the lyrics in O Holy Night.

The thrill of hope

The weary world rejoices

I guess I never really thought about what it meant each time I sung along to it at church or on a cd or wherever. But I’ve been thinking a lot about it recently. I’ve actually been thinking a lot about Christmas Carols and how biblical they are. How the most atheist of people can quite happily sing words like ‘Fall on your knees, O hear the angels voices’. But back to the lyrics at hand.

I guess… hope is thrilling. Although I’ve never really thought of it like that. To so many, to hope is to risk something, sometimes everything. To hope for a blissful marriage.. that’s risky. To hope for the new business venture to work out.. that’s risky. To hope for Zac Efron to somehow meet a 20 yr old red headed girl from Australia and realise that she is his soul mate.. that’s risky. But I think, if you want it to be, hope can be thrilling.

In the mess of it all.. we’ve lost the thrill. We’ve hoped too many times and our hopes were dashed. The marriage broke down, the business went bust because of the economic crisis and Zac Efron is dating a beautiful brunette from America. I think a lack of hope leads to weariness. Weariness of the soul.

When Jesus was born.. he truly brought real hope to the world. And he bought thrill back into fashion as the hope we have in Jesus can’t be easily lost. A weary world rejoices because of the birth of one man. I know I’m weary.. I’m weary from all the hopelessness. But I’m thankful for real hope – and I think that’s why the world rejoices at Christmas. At least, that’s why I rejoice at Christmas – my weary soul is filled with thrilling hope.