Rainy season means the grass and crops grow, that roads (usually congested with motorcycle taxis) are a bit easier to navigate, and we exchange dust for mold as the seasonal allergen.
But it was amazing to be reminded recently of God’s grace with a rainbow before it started raining.
Now on a day with rain, put your back to the sun and look for the rainbow ahead of you. Is there a logical reason that you MUST see the rainbow AFTER the storm and not before? It’s about weather patterns and prevailing winds. And sometimes it is about expectations and observation.
In Rwanda, because of experience and expectation, there is an idiom, “like the rainbow before the storm.”
In the story of Noah, there had not been a rainbow before. When the rain fell for 40 days, still no mention of a rainbow. Then toward the end of the story, the first rainbow is finally mentioned:
12 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: 13 I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. 16 Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.” (Genesis 9:12-16)
A sign in the clouds as a reminder that God will not destroy all life.
As a boy, I imagined the horror of the first rainstorm after the flood. I wonder if rain brought PTSD. What did they think? “Will God remember his promise?” Perhaps, though, the rainbow came before the storm, to give confidence before the triggers. Instead of a reminder after a trial that God keeps his promises, perhaps it came as a reminder before the trial, to trust God with what is ahead and to watch what God will do.
Even as we read the prophets, God says, watch and see what I will do.
In my life, too, we faced what seemed impossible obstacles: raising money to come to Rwanda, every year having a budget shortfall at NCM, lacking teachers and administrators for CLIR, needing expert help. And through prayer, God has given us opportunity to hear the promise of his faithfulness before we see the fruit of his faithfulness. The promise, the rainbow, comes before the storm. And you will see it, if you look for it.
In your journey, have you more often seen God’s rainbow before or after the storm?