Have you ever stood in the middle of a rainbow?
One that unexpectantly appeared where there was no sign of a summer thunderstorm around?
Unexpectantly is what happened one afternoon last week while our family was on our family vacation.
Four years ago, our family took three weeks and drove across the country and back as far west as Utah and Arizona. We didn’t have quite enough time to make it to California, and our kids have wanted to go there since.
Finding it hard to believe, our daughter is at the age where she’s beginning to look at colleges now and one place she’s interested in is in Arizona. It was a good “excuse” to make a trip out of it and go to Cali while we were over there.
After the tour and spending a few days with family who lives there, we packed up, got in the rental car and headed to our first stop, Hollywood, CA. That was our first stop (for just an afternoon and night…that place is CROWDED and CRA-ZEE!) Then we drove up US-1 along the Pacific coast, stopping along the way to spend some time in Monterey, San Francisco and our final stop was the Yosemite National Park.
None of us had ever been to Yosemite and were all amazed at the stunning beauty of the spectacular views of waterfalls, enormous granite walls, meadows, wildflowers and trees that surrounded us as we were in the park. We were also blessed to be there at the time when there were several BIG waterfalls because the snow on top of the rock mountains was still melting from the winter and rolling off the top.
Our first afternoon there, we hiked on one of the trails to get a closer view of a waterfall. It was beautiful from the distance as the sun-shining rays made the water sparkle. From one-fourth of a mile away from it, we began to feel the mist from the waterfall brushing or face and arms, even as we walked on a wooded trail. The sound of rushing water became louder as we climbed over rocks to get a closer look and when the wind picked up speed, it made us very aware of the frigid and powerful water cascading down the wall.
We passed many people who had been to the end of the trail and were returning, speaking in different languages, had smiles on their faces and were dry. Not wet.
When we got to the end, the mist had become like sprinkling rain because we were close to where the cascading water crashed into the massive creek that ran down the mountain. We had only stood there for about ten seconds and suddenly, it felt like the sky opened and it poured rain – almost completely soaking us. No one saw the gust of wind that blasted in from a different direction causing the water from the waterfall to drench us.
It just so happened that our daughter was the only one who didn’t get soaked, and she happened to get a picture of me at the tail end of the gust of water. She wasn’t taking a picture of me getting wet; she was taking a picture of the rainbow that had just formed. I had no inkling there was a rainbow until she called out, “Mom! You’ve got to see this picture!” This is the unexpected view I mentioned above:
I was standing right in the middle of that rainbow! I was truly surprised and had never thought of that happening, especially on a mountain in California.
I was reminded how rainbows represent God’s promise to us. God’s covenant to Noah (and all of us) after 40 days and nights of solid rain and flooding, is that He will never flood the earth like that again with water.
A covenant is a completely devoted and deep-down promise given to someone, never to be broken.
That night I was lying in the dark hotel room revisiting earlier that day in my mind – the vastness of God’s masterpiece in Yosemite and a rainbow reaching through me. Then I heard the words God whispered to me:
“Rainbows represent covenants or promises. I put that rainbow right through you to remind you, my beloved, that I am yours and you are Mine. I’ve promised to never abandon you, forget about you, leave you or forsake you. A rainbow is to remind you that after a flood or a storm (in your life) IS a new start. A new beginning. Something beautiful. And I keep my promises.”
Those quiet words helped me gently fall to sleep.
It wasn’t until after we were home from our trip, when I looked through my journal and the brochure from Yosemite and read that the name of the waterfall where I had the rainbow experience is named “The Bridal-Veil Fall”.
“Your new name will be… “The Bride of God,” for the Lord delights in you and will claim you as his bride.” (Isaiah 62:4)
Talk about a covenant! God surprised me, and He can surprise you, too, - and it’s always when you least expect it. They can be little or large but whatever they are, He lovingly and joyfully gives them to you. Isn’t it fun to give someone a surprise gift?! You see, He wants to shower you with gifts to remind you how much he loves you. He loves you with passion which was seen and proven as He rose from the dead after dying a harsh and criminal death on a cross. For you. And me.
God can even make unique promises to you when it’s a hot, sunny day, and you have your sprinkler on in your yard and unexpectantly the sun hits the water just the right way and a rainbow forms. The next time that happens or when you see a rainbow, remember that YOU are God’s bride, YOU are HIS BELOVED, and He keeps His promises that He’s written in His Love Letter (the Bible), TO YOU, forever!