Thursday, January 21, 2010


It's been raining like crazy here in Southern California for the last few days. We don't usually actually have "weather" here to speak of. We're in a desert (all of California is technically in a desert) and so normally it's sunny and clear around here. The truth of the matter is California isn't all that tough, we don't even stand up well under a little rain. We flood, we have mudslides, our streets and our pools overflow and everything just kind of becomes a mess.

I'm not really a fan of the rain. I hate driving in it because the fact of the matter is Californians don't know how to drive in the rain either. We have cars stalling out in puddles and fender benders all along the sides of the road, everything is just kind of crazy and chaotic. I might feel differently about the rain if I could spend the day watching it through a window while cuddled under a blanket in front of a fire and reading a good book. But life doesn't stop happening just because a little rain is falling, and by the time the weekend comes and I could actually semi-hibernate to sit back and enjoy the rain we'll be back to sunny skies and warmer weather... ok, actually it's going to be chilly by California standards (in the 60s), but warm to most everyone else, so I'll go with it.

I don't think it's rained this hard or this long in SoCal since El NiƱo hit back in the winter of 2002-03. That storm was relentless. It rained so long and so hard, that you could literally see the rain soaking into the outside of our walls up about three feet from the ground. It was constantly dark and cold, and everywhere you went you could smell the dampness. It was really overwhelming. It didn't help that we were in the thick of a personal storm. We were at the worst stage with E's adoption when everything seemed just as dark and gloomy as the weather outside.

There were a few particularly bad days when I thought I might be overwhelmed by both the real storm and the personal one. Life was challenging anyway, with a one-year-old and a two-year-old... and an eight-year-old for that matter. On top of that excessive stresses on the adoption front, and now so much rain I thought our house might just float off into the Pacific Ocean, and we're a good 20 miles from the beach.

One day I was home with the kids and there was finally a break in the rain. I took them outside to play in the puddles and saw the most amazing sight. Arched over our neighborhood were at least a half a dozen rainbows. It was the most amazing sight. Jacob and I marveled at the display in the sky, neighbors all coming out to admire the beauty. I just stood there in awe. And I asked Jake if he knew what the rainbow meant, and of course he did. He was very familiar with the story of Noah in the ninth chapter of Genesis.

And God said, "This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind.

In that moment it was a real blessing for me. It was a reminder, God always keeps His promises. He can be trusted. And in that season I was holding to His promise over Ethan, so the reminder meant the world to me, and I felt like God placed all those rainbows there just so I would remember. He is a good God and he can be trusted.

Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
and your dominion endures through all generations.
The LORD is faithful to all his promises
and loving toward all he has made.

Psalm 145:13

I have been thinking about that amazing day a lot this week while these crazy storms keep coming against California one after another. I've been thinking a lot about rainbows. On the days when I have come home and there has been a break in the storm I have been stopping to look up into the sky to see if I could find a rainbow, but to no avail. Every opportunity, I found myself looking up, trying to find the promise.

I guess I must have mentioned it to the kids at some point this week because Jake was apparently on the lookout for a rainbow too. Today when the rain broke he was taking the trash outside when all of a sudden I heard him calling from the yard excitedly. There was a rainbow in the sky.

I grabbed my camera hoping to capture a photo the way I did years ago, but when I looked up in the sky I could barely see it. Jake had to point it out to me. On either side of the neighborhood there were the ends of the rainbow, but the arc in between wasn't able to be seen. Even the ends of the rainbow were dim, obscured by the clouds, and by the time I got my camera out, they too had disappeared, but there was a moment, and the beauty was seen. I didn't get the photo I wanted, or even the view I had hoped for, but I had been watching, and with a little help from my son, I got to see the promise.

When we came in the house Jake was talking about how it's so great that the rainbow comes after the storm. I told him not always, because today's storm wasn't over at all. Tonight the sky has been lit up with lightning and the thunder has been rolling loudly, the storm is perhaps even worse than it was this afternoon. The hint of the promise comes in the midst of the storm, sometimes, but I think you have to be watching for it.

It seems as though there are "storms" brewing on the horizon in our personal lives too. The forecast for Southern California promises sunshine by the weekend, but in life, we don't currently have that short term guarantee. It has not been definitively declared that we are in fact in for a "storm" in life, but the signs are there. Unlike the real weather, there is no meteorologist who can tell me what lies ahead, but like an arthritic knee might warn the layman, a stir in my spirit tells me the same about challenges ahead.

So I'm thinking about the need to look up. I need to be actively pursuing the sighting of the promises of God. It may not come in a brilliant display the way those rainbows did some seven years ago, they may be more like the sighting today. If we hadn't been looking, we might never have seen.

I want to be on the lookout for the promises of God in the storms of life. I think they are surely there, but sometimes hard to see, obscured by the clouds but still the declaration is there.

God is not a man, that he should lie,
nor a son of man, that he should change his mind.
Does he speak and then not act?
Does he promise and not fulfill?
I have received a command to bless;
he has blessed, and I cannot change it.

Numbers 23:19-20

It makes it easier to face the potential storms with more confidence when I remember the character of my heavenly Father. I have had the privilege of having personal promises to hold to, like the promise of my daughter, and the security of my son, but I also know I have a whole bible full of promises to hold onto in the stormiest of days, but again, I think you have to be looking.

Interestingly, in my experience, rainbows only come on stormy days. I can't recall ever coming out on a beautiful sunny day to find a rainbow in the sky. It's only amidst the storms. That is the time the Lord chooses to set out His reminder of His promises and His faithfulness to always, always keep them.

If you're facing a storm, or caught in the midst of one, it occurs to me, that it's there the Lord wants to reveal to you (and me) the beauty of His faithfulness. He wants us to look up with hope and expectation in the midst of the storm and darkness and seek to find the Light and it's reflection. And maybe we'll just get a glimpse, but maybe we'll get to see an incredible display of His beauty.

...let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
Hebrews 10:22-23

1 comment:

Mrs. Money said...

Wow, that is all so beautiful!