Minister's Corner: When the rainbow fades

Justin Dunn
UBC Shawnee

My family and I just returned from vacation in the Black Hills area of South Dakota. One spot we visited was Badlands National Park. The landscape of the Badlands is like nothing I have ever seen in person and looks like something out of Star Wars with a little a bit of what I picture the Palestinian desert to look like. One evening we hoped to catch the sunset over the Pinnacles overlook area with its seemingly endless expanse and layered rock whose colors are accentuated as the sun dips below its horizon. Our opportunity looked bleak as we left our hotel with rain pelting the windshield and ominous clouds looming overhead. Not a minute into the drive out we noticed a rainbow in the sky, the family commented on it but honestly I did not give it much of a thought. It was when we got to the Pinnacles overlook parking lot that I became really captivated. There was the rainbow again! In the surprisingly beautiful desolation of the Badlands the rainbow splashed color and gave hope that a rainstorm might hold off and a picturesque sunset might be visible. Then it was gone. I was frantically taking pictures on my phone to capture the moment and the rainbow faded out of sight. We were not disappointed in the sunset. We waited, a crown gathered, and it was beautiful, a witness to God’s subtle majesty. But I could not shake the rainbow out of my pondering thoughts.

We know from the Noah narrative in the book of Genesis that God gave the natural phenomena of the rainbow as a sign of His covenant,” 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. “(Genesis 9:15, NIV). The rainbow is a sign of God’s promise, of the hope of life even when circumstances are chaotic, even bleak. Interestingly, God says in Verse 16 that the rainbow is a reminder for Him to preserve life and extend mercy. A Divine reminder that brings relief and enthusiasm to a tired, worn creation. Wow! But what about when the rainbow fades. When the hope, the promise, and the rejuvenation that so quickly appeared is no longer seen. Maybe you have the experience of knowing God’s presence in a difficult time or in a particular joyful time. Maybe you have felt the deflation when that presence seems to dissipate, and the weight of life settles back in with an ongoing heaviness. Even the most ardent believer and faithful follower forgets. We forget that God is always with us, we forget that seeking Christ means going through difficulties and straining to find His Spirit at work. But God does not forget, He remembers to be faithful, merciful, and present. God is overwhelmingly available; He is speaking and moving in and among His creation. Even when the rainbow fades.