Whenever I officiate at weddings I make sure I come early. With traffic unpredictable in Manila, it’s just not worth the stress of being stuck not knowing if you will be late. That’s why I came one hour early for a recent wedding ceremony.
The banquet hall was empty except for one table where a few early guests sat. At the table, our friends Junjun and Mae Perez were excitedly recounting a recent sighting of brightly colored rainbow. Junjun posted the picture shown here in Facebook. As Christians, we believe that a rainbow is a sign of promise from God, a promise that He will never harm us or destroy us as it was in the days of Noah.
As Mae and Junjun spoke, I was reminded of the number of times these colorful appearances have been a source of encouragement for me. One in particular stood out.
Many years ago, while vacationing in the mountains, I chanced upon one of these rainbow sightings as I stepped out of our billet. It was probably the most majestic rainbow I have ever seen. The full arc and the vividness of the colors were resplendent; it is hard to forget.
The occurrence was more than 20 years ago, and yet the encouragement of that moment has not left me. Here are three thoughts to inspire you the next time you see a rainbow:
1) A rainbow’s colors don’t change. Junjun explained that the order of a rainbow’s colors never changes. ROYGBIV—from top to bottom in descending order—red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. Regardless of where you find one, all rainbows remain the same. As such we can trust that God will be consistent with His truth and love. He is never changing.
2) All we can see is a portion. That day in the mountain I saw something I would never forget. The shape of the rainbow was a semi-circle. The book of Revelation tells us that a rainbow encircles God ‘s throne in heaven (see Rev. 4:3).
A rainbow is a circle, and every time we see one we need to remind ourselves that on this earth we will only see—at best—half of all that God has in store for us. The rest remains to be a surprise.
The reality is that, many times when we see a rainbow, what we see is a quarter or less. Yes, God’s promises are trustworthy and amazing. But keep in mind that they are but a fraction of what we can see or imagine, both here and in eternity. Expect to be surprised!
3) A beautiful bow of light. It was Sally Lloyd-Jones in her book, The Jesus Storybook Bible, who wrote that the rainbow or “God’s war bow was not pointing down at his people. It was pointing up, into the heart of heaven.” God’s beautiful bow of light was His colorful way of reminding us that wrath and judgment have been withheld, and that His Son Jesus would take the arrow for us.
A colorful promise that will never change, and one that we can only behold but a portion … for now.
Joey Bonifacio is the senior pastor of Victory Fort, one of 15 congregations that make up Victory Church in the metro Manila area of the Philippines. He is also the author of The LEGO Principle, which draws parallels between the famous toy-maker and core discipleship elements.