Two Sundays ago, I heard a sermon on Noah, the ark and the rainbow promise. It started me thinking about rain and rainbows.
Recently I read Tullian Tchividjian's blog thoughts (Blog: On Earth as it is in Heaven) on "Trusting God When We Cannot Trace Him" which pressed me further in my thinking about rain and rainbows.
Tullian reminds me of the lines from J.I. Packer's book, Knowing God (p. 97) about understanding "the unexpected and upsetting and discouraging things" that happen.
Paul Brand wrote an entire book relevant to this topic, Pain: The Gift Nobody Wants (now released as The Gift of Pain: Why We Hurt and What Can Do About It). The bottom line to his over 300 pages of really good stuff is that we need pain to survive. From his years as a doctor to leprosy patients in India and in the USA, Dr. Brand has seen up close and personal what painlessness does in harming the human body. Pain is actually a gift in that it motivates us to stop and seek help. It's a matter of self-preservation!
Twenty years ago I heard Dr. Brand speak at the Medical College of Virginia. He talked about his work with lepers and his conclusions about the benefits of pain sensors in the body. When he finished, my husband and I went up to speak to him. At that point in time, I was experiencing some pretty extreme physical pain. It was interesting because Dr. Brand stopped, looked me straight in the eyes and said, "You know about pain, don't you?"
George Mattheson wrote the compelling hymn, "Love That Will Not Let Me Go" after he lost his sight and his fiancee walked away from their commitment due to his blindness. Through his tears and pain, Mattheson penned these awesome words
O Love that wilt not let me go, I rest my weary soul in thee; ... O Joy that seekest me through pain, I cannot close my heart to thee; I trace the rainbow through the rain, And feel the promise is not vain, That morn shall tearless be.
J.I. Packer observes: "We may be frankly bewildered at things that happen to us, but God knows exactly what He is doing, and what He is after, in His handling of our affairs. Always, and in everything, He is wise: we shall see that hereafter, even where we never saw it here ... Meanwhile we ought not to hesitate to trust His wisdom, even when He leaves us in the dark." (Knowing God, p. 97)
Tullian blogs: "Faith trusts God even when it cannot trace him. God is doing something in your life, in my life, ... that is above and beyond anything we could ever ask for or imagine. ... God promises that the best is yet to come. Think big. ... "
Remember the song "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head"? Raindrops and deluges fall on all of us. The question is how to get through the rain to the rainbow. The rain may be God's gift to get us to the rainbow where we see and experience God's utter faithfulness!
The challenge for my heart is to not get stuck in the rain but rather to trace the rainbow through the rain! Only God can lead me through the rain to the rainbow!