The color reached the sky opposite the setting sun, turning the hazy clouds pink. Between me and the pinkest spot rose a deeply colored rainbow. Far off to my right, purple clouds hovered over the airfields of the local airport. Descending from the midst of them was the other side of this rainbow.
I have never seen a rainbow so stunning. I was driving, and by the time I got home to my camera, the color had faded to the point where a picture might not have shown it at all, so I have no proof to show you of that glory, only a strong memory that will probably fade over time. My mother saw it, too. When I said it was the most amazing rainbow of my lifetime, she said it was also the most amazing of hers. The Haley’s Comet of rainbows.
This summer, I’ve actually seen more amazing rainbows than ever before. My friends seem to have seen a number of them, too, because they’ve been noticeably present in my Facebook feed this year. Here’s just one:
Through Facebook and church, the women in my life have joined forces in a way only God could coordinate to remind me that rainbows are packed with meaning. They are a sign of the promise from God to never again flood the world.
And when we’re reminded of one of God’s promises, how can we not think of His others? His promise to come again. His promise to work all things for the good of His people. And so, so much more.
None of us need a reminder that the world is in trouble. We see it on the news, on social media, on the street. But there is something God knew we would need to be reminded of: God is still good, still in control, and still coming again. His prophets did not speak in vain when they foretold long ago of his return to earth and of his plan to redeem his people from the evil in the world. The things they prophesied are still true, still on their way.
Because the wait is long, He knew we’d need reminders. He gave us rainbows, and he gave us 2 Peter 3, which is rich in fodder for discussion on remembering.
When we begin to wonder where God is in all of the events we see in the world, Peter reminds us:
The Lord is not slow concerning his promise, as some regard slowness, but is being patient toward you, because he does not wish for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9, NET
During this long wait, many will “deliberately suppress” or, as the NIV says, “deliberately forget” what we know to be true.
For they deliberately suppress this fact, that by the word of God heavens existed long ago and an earth was formed out of water and by means of water. Through these things the world existing at that time was destroyed when it was deluged with water. But by the same word the present heavens and earth have been reserved for fire, by being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. 2 Peter 3:5-7, NET
Instead, Peter goes to great, deliberate lengths to help us remember truth.
I am trying to stir up your pure mind by way of reminder: I want you to recall both the predictions foretold by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles. 2 Peter 3:1-2, NET
So, we have two choices before us in the midst of this long, long wait for God to fulfill his promises. We can deliberately forget or we can deliberately remember God’s provision in the past and his promises for the future.
Though I want to remember, I had forgotten that rainbows are promises. I had forgotten that there may be a reason we needed so many stunning ones this summer. I had forgotten to willfully look for signs and remember what they mean.
This is where the Body of Christ comes in. As Peter reminded others of truth, as my community reminded me of the power of rainbows, we remind each other of God’s loving, faithful history and his good, good promises.
The days are dark. The setbacks are piling up. Many memories are turning fuzzy. But God is as strong, present, and in control as ever. He isn’t waiting in order to torture us. He is waiting to give more sinners the opportunity to repent, to be justified by the blood of Jesus.
Let us never tire of reminding each other of these truths!
Rainbows are a specific symbol of a Biblical promise from God, but other things, unique to each of us, can remind us of aspects of our Heavenly Father. For me, seeing the pelicans that summer in my area reminds me of God’s love and care for his creation, of his mercy and his presence in a broken world. Do you have something that serves as a reminder to you?