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Thursday, July 15, 2010

#90 Rainbows

Continuing with the 100 life-enriching little nuances series…

Windstorms are becoming more frequent in Omaha in the past couple of years. We had one in 2008 that nearly crippled the city – knocking down trees, pulling down power lines and knocking out power for days. We had another one a couple of months ago that wasn’t as severe and then another one last night that was accompanied by sheets of rain.

My sister and I were in the car together, heading to the hospital to visit a relative, when, all of a sudden, the sky turned black, debris fluttered through the air and traffic signs swayed violently. The radio report we tuned into said the temperature was too hot for hail (a major plus, given that I’m leasing a new car), but we could expect winds up to 70 mph. They were correct. Winds reached 70 mph and 40,000 people lost power.
We made it to the hospital parking lot, then dashed inside. We were soaked, but happy to be inside somewhere. After our visit, we exited the lobby doors and were blown away by what we saw – two full rainbows. A peaceful, orange calmness replaced the violence we witnessed just an hour earlier.

People pulled out their cell phones and snapped photos. I took quite a few myself. This one was probably the best of the bunch:

Double Rainbow

Most of us who were shooting pictures tried in vain to capture the two rainbows. We kept backing up, but they just wouldn’t be contained in our feeble technology. I shot a video, but even that didn’t do them justice.
As my sister and I left the parking lot, we talked about Genesis 9:8-16, that says:
Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, “Behold, I establish my covenant with you and your offspring after you, and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the livestock, and every beast of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark; it is for every beast of the earth. I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.”
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.”
After I got home, I looked up the passage and thought about it for a few minutes, happy to bask in God’s mercy. Then I looked up what Matthew Henry had to say about it and he put words to my emotions. This comes from his concise commentary:
The rainbow appears when we have most reason to fear the rain prevailing; God then shows this seal of the promise, that it shall not prevail. The thicker the cloud, the brighter the bow in the cloud. Thus, as threatening afflictions abound, encouraging consolations much more abound. The rainbow is the reflection of the beams of the sun shining upon or through the drops of rain: all the glory of the seals of the covenant are derived from Christ, the Sun of righteousness. And he will shed a glory on the tears of his saints. A bow speaks terror, but this has neither string nor arrow; and a bow alone will do little hurt. It is a bow, but it is directed upward, not toward the earth; for the seals of the covenant were intended to comfort, not to terrify. As God looks upon the bow, that he may remember the covenant, so should we, that we may be mindful of the covenant with faith and thankfulness. Without revelation this gracious assurance could not be known; and without faith it can be of no use to us; and thus it is as to the still greater dangers to which all are exposed, and as to the new covenant with its blessings.


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