My family and I had a cool experience the other morning. There, outside the slider door, was a beautiful rainbow just off our deck. Well, it wasn’t exactly just off our deck, but it did seem close enough to touch.
It was incredible. And it actually developed into a double-rainbow. I don’t care who you are, a rainbow is always amazing. The mere sight of one turns us all into kids again. We holler for everyone to take a look and we quickly grab our cameras–even though we’ve seen hundreds before.
Why is that? It’s because we don’t see them every day. And they’re beautiful. And they remind us of God’s promise to Noah. It isn’t that most of us have actually ever feared God judging the world again through a world-wide flood, but it is a kind of sentimental reminder of God’s faithfulness. We take the rainbow as a reminder for all of God’s promises. And that’s just reassuring.
But the rainbow thing got me thinking . . . and looking at that passage in Genesis again. And I saw something there that I hadn’t seen before.
We all see the ark. We all see the animals. We all see the rain, and the dove, and the olive branch. We all see the rainbow. But there was a connection that I didn’t see before.
It’s when the rainbow appeared. Think about it for a minute. As I’m writing this, it’s a relatively sunny day and I’m sitting in my backyard enjoying the sun, a slight breeze, and even the shady break that the clouds give when they pass by the sun. But there aren’t any rainbows. Why not? Because rainbows don’t happen on clear, sunny days.
Rainbows happen when it’s raining.
Well, duh. That might seem really obvious to you. But it wasn’t obvious to me every other time I’ve read that passage in Genesis. God used a rainbow to promise Noah (and the rest of us) that He would never destroy the earth again through a flood. That meant that He promised while it was raining.
The rain had stopped when Noah and his family finally and safely exited the ark, built an altar to God and offered a sacrifice on it. It was then that God spoke to him and gave the sign of His promise: the first rainbow.
I don’t usually have that kind of faith. It had rained for 40 days and 40 nights. The earth didn’t need any more watering. If I were Noah, once the rain had stopped I would’ve been more than happy to not see another drop of rain for the rest of my life. I would’ve been thrilled for God to take me to an arid place and say:
“Here’s the Gobi desert, Noah. It exists as a sign to you that I won’t ever destroy the earth through a flood again.”
That kind of sign makes sense to me. But that isn’t the kind of sign that God chose to give.
God’s promises come with a place to hang our faith.
Noah’s sandals were still wet and the sound of pouring rain was likely still in his ears. But his faith was sure. It would have to be. That’s the way God often works–He doesn’t just deliver us and set us in a place that is ‘safe’ without any risk. No, He calls us to a place where our faith is liable to get wet and our doubts are as real as the mud between our toes.
Noah, if you are truly willing to trust what I’m about to show you, you’re going to get wet . . . again.
God doesn’t call us to safety. He calls us to Himself and asks us to trust Him through the storm for true safety. It’s a theme we see throughout the Bible: Israel at the Red Sea, and again at the Jordan; Jesus with His disciples in the boat in the storm, and again at the cross.
Rainbows remind us that we can trust God not to destroy us with a flood while it is still raining . . . but the sun is shining, too.
Where is God prompting you to step into the rain and trust Him?