The rainbow reminds us that there is more. It’s a promise that all the rain will stop. It’s a commitment that the storm will end. It’s a reminder that the light is shining no matter how heavy the clouds become.
There are times in my life when I can grasp the rainbow with a simple smile. No matter what’s happening around me, I find the silver lining shining.
And then there are times when I have to hunt for the silver lining. It’s gotten a little tarnished because of neglect and needs some buffing to shine again.
But the toughest times are when I don’t even want to look for the silver lining. Things have piled up. The clouds have not only shut out the light, but they have also started crushing me.
Clouds should never be able to crush us. They are simply water particles hanging out together. But somehow the combination of storm and darkness does just that. It’s hard to breathe. It’s a struggle to think. And finding the silver lining is impossible.
Missing the Rainbow
Many years ago, a close friend called to tell me she didn’t want to speak to me again. The call came out of the blue and it hurt. She had been someone I trusted. We shared secrets. We shared holidays. With the snap of a finger, she was gone.
I found my way through and did what I could do not to think about the hole in my heart. When my mom died, my dad asked why she hadn’t come to the funeral. I didn’t know how to answer. How do you explain that someone who was such a close part of the family one day decided not to be?
She was a missing rainbow. My mom was a missing rainbow. That day, I struggled to find anything positive to get me through. The friends that did show up helped. The friends that stayed at the house to care for my children and to set up the house helped. For every missing rainbow, a multitude of rainbows began to shine through the storm.
A missing rainbow isn’t just replaced, but if you are willing to keep going then new rainbows bigger and brighter will grow up around the missing places.
I jumped into a new opportunity with all the enthusiasm of a kid after the end of trick-or-treating. I dumped my heart and soul into doing what I knew needed to be done. I learned new skills and applied them appropriately.
One day, I was told I still wasn’t enough. Maybe those weren’t the words they used, but that’s what my heart heard.
The condemning words rolled around my head and then sunk down into my heart. I looked down on my abilities. I looked down on my training. I looked down on my skills.
And then I looked up to a sky painted with vibrant colors – the most I had seen in a while. I claimed that sunset for my silver lining, but the next day the condemning words had returned.
“You messed up.”
“You let others down.”
The words pierced my heart. I knew I needed to fix what I had broken, but I also knew I was already doing all that I could do so I didn’t have what was necessary to fix what was broken. I sank down into a pit of self-pity and the storm deepened.
I looked up to see a large bird settling into the tree in front of my window. I had to take a second look because I didn’t believe what I was seeing. Sure enough, a large bald eagle has stopped to say hello. I claimed the moment for my silver lining.
The next day, when the condemning words showed up, I countered them.
“You can’t.” – “I can do all things with Christ who strengthens me.”
It turns out that it’s not up to me. When I accept that I really can’t, not on my own anyway, then those condemning words no longer have a place to latch on. The more I’m feeding the hope, the harder it becomes for the despair.
“You won’t.” – “I will because it’s God who goes before me to give me victory.”
It doesn’t have to look the way I thought it would or be in the place I thought it should, but the victory is secured when I keep my focus and purpose aligned with God.
“You aren’t” – “I am – I am more than a conqueror; I am royalty; I am blessed; I am chosen; I AM!”
My value comes from my maker and not from the words of others (or even the words I’ve planted in my mind).
“You messed up.” – “God manages my messes and turns the dry bones into armies.”
Nothing I can do will leave God surprised. He not only knows but has already made the way.
“You let others down.” – “What the world shows me is not the truth of my situation.”
I can only get bogged down by the limits of the world when I get stuck in those limits. My God is limitless.
“You failed.” – “I faltered. As long as I learn, keep going, and take the next step, it’s not failure.”
Everything works together when we keep the right focus and keep going.
The other day, I stumbled walking out of Sunday School. It could have been an epic crash, but I somehow managed to keep stumbling until I ran into the wall. I used the solid wall to catch my balance.
My heart was fluttering, in part because of the effort required to keep stumbling and in part because I almost face-planted in front of the entire class. Then my mind got involved in the fluttering because I knew must have hurt something to have stumbled on flat ground.
When I calmed down, I realized there was nothing hurt and I hadn’t stumbled over anything. It was just one of those things that sometimes happen no matter how well you prepare or how watchful you might be.
Thinking about that day in Sunday school makes me even stronger for the current storms I’m up against. I may have to keep stumbling until I can get up against the wall. I may have to stand a few minutes and catch my breath. I may have to accept that despite all that I have done or how watchful I was, things still happened.
When these times happen, there is only one thing that will ALWAYS make a difference.
Remember that God made you on purpose and for a purpose. One of the greatest things you can remember is that God already planned in all of your silly choices, detours, and stumbles.
You aren’t alone in this journey. God has you. He’ll send gentle reminders and sometimes not so gentle reminders that He’s with you.
The promise is there. It might take a moment to come into focus. It might require a willingness to buff the silver lining. It may just be that you have to be open to looking. Be sure, the promise of the rainbow is waiting.
“When you wait upon the Lord, your strength will be renewed. You will soar with wings like an eagle. You will run without getting tired. You will walk without fainting.” – Isaiah 40:31
“When you dwell in the place of the Lord, and when you say that He is your refuge and fortress and the One in whom you trust, then he will deliver you from the snare. He will hold you in the palm of His hand.” – Psalm 91