Let Us Look for the Rainbows
Written by: Meredith Miller
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When I see the rainbow in the clouds, I will remember
the eternal covenant between God and every living creature on earth.
- Genesis 9:16 (NLT)
I have a special affinity for the story of Noah. About two years ago, I went through a miscarriage, and in the process of trying to understand why God could allow something like this, I learned that babies born after pregnancy loss are called “Rainbow Babies.” The name comes from seeing a rainbow after a rainstorm, just as Noah experienced. But while we might be comfortable with the Sunday School image of cute animals riding on a boat under a rainbow, the reality of Noah’s story is much grittier, and we may find it to be more relatable to the storms we’ve experienced in our own lives.
Noah is introduced to the Genesis narrative, penned by Moses, around the time Moses tells us that the world is a mess. Humans have become so wicked that God regrets His creation. Remember when God declared His creation “good” (1:31)? The sin of humans has caused that to fly out the window.
But among all this corruption is a shining beacon of hope: Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God. - Genesis 6:9 (NIV) While everyone else was doing their own thing, Noah was keeping in step with his God. It’s a shocking image until you realize that we don’t live in that different of a time. The wickedness of man is still rampant, yet we are called to keep in step with God just as Noah did.
When things got challenging, Noah didn’t flinch away. When God tells Noah He is about to destroy creation in a massive flood, but that Noah is to build an ark to escape this judgment, Noah doesn’t doubt the instructions. Noah did everything just as God commanded him. -Genesis 6:22 (NIV) Moses makes sure we understand how obedient Noah was in the face of this crazy plan, repeating this statement three more times. The higher the water climbs, Noah stays obedient in the face of the storm.
When you think about the death and destruction that comes with this flood, it is remarkable that Noah stays obedient. That Sunday School story with the cute animals mentions the rain lasting 40 days and 40 nights, but Scripture tells us that Noah is 600 when he goes into the ark, and 601 when he comes out after waiting for the flood waters to subside. He has basically been living in a zoo for over a year. And yet Noah doesn’t run to dry land at the first sign that the dove will not return. Verses 8:15-16 tells us that God decides they should come out. Oh, that we could have the endurance of Noah to remain obedient in the face of fierce storms and long waits!
We have finally reached the end of the story that always makes me smile: The rainbow. However, my reading this time revealed something that I didn’t notice before. After God calls Noah from the ark, He determines that He will never destroy His creation again even though every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood. - Genesis 8:21 (NIV)
The truth is, when God sets His rainbow in the sky, He knows nothing has changed! He may have sent a flood to wipe out His creation, but when Noah and his family begin to fill the earth again, humans will be the same wicked sinners they always were. Yet He makes His covenant with Noah anyways, no strings attached. There is nothing for Noah and his family to do, only for God to remember, when He sees the rainbow, the covenant He made with every generation not to flood the earth again.
A rainbow appears only three other times in Scripture: once in Ezekiel (1:28), and twice in Revelation (4:3, 10:1). Each time, the writer is having a vision of the radiance of Jesus shining like a rainbow. The true end of Noah’s story is in the promise of Jesus. HE is the rainbow, the covenant not to destroy mankind, because He came to save us from our wickedness and grant us eternal life. So as we wait for God to keep the eternal promise of Noah’s rainbow, let us look for the rainbows in our life now, as God continues to rescue us from the storms we face until we meet the ultimate Rainbow in His Kingdom.
1. What storms are you facing right now? How can you follow Noah’s example by remaining obedient in the face of them?
2. Where are the rainbows in the midst of your storms, as you await eternal life?
Heavenly Father, thank You for the covenant that You made with Noah and that You are fulfilling in Jesus, our Savior. Help us to remain obedient through the storms in our lives, and help us to see the rainbows You send us on earth, as we await eternal life with Jesus, our Rainbow in Heaven. In Your Son’s Precious Name, Amen.
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