Musings from a promise-collector

Collecting Rainbows


Saturday, July 10, 2010

Enter a dream with me, if you will….

Standing in the middle of a wide field of rolling hills, you feel the sun warming you. There is a soft breeze that carries the scents of wildflowers and lavender. The air also smells fresh and clean – just like after good rain. A few fluffy clouds lazily drift through the sky. That’s when you look to the left and notice a beautiful arced rainbow. The colors are so vivid that you can’t help but stare at it. The longer you stare, you begin to notice that there is something different about this rainbow – almost a solid quality. But rainbows aren’t solid, they are made of light, and you know this. So this one really has your attention now. You begin to walk closer, expecting the solid-looking mirage to fade, just like a natural rainbow should. But it doesn’t fade. In fact, the closer you get, the more clearly you can see it. You are finally close enough to touch it – which is also odd, shouldn’t have moved as you moved? You hold your breath as you reach out, expecting your hand to pass through it. But your fingers find a hard, smooth substance. It is made of glass! As you stand there in awe, something tells you that like a normal rainbow (even this is FAR from normal), it will fade shortly and disappear. Quickly you remove the backpack from your shoulders and unzip it on the ground. You reach out and begin breaking pieces of the rainbow off and stuff them in your backpack. You know that you have just encountered something spectacular, and you want to take the pieces to remind you of this amazing experience. Because magically, these pieces will endure for all time, even when the rest of the rainbow will disappear.

This is a dream that God gave to me on my first night back in Knoxville. And, I have to say – I was pretty excited when I woke up. After a very extended time in a desert place, I feel like God was telling me that all those promises that He made to me during that time will be fulfilled. Not necessarily right away, of course. There is still a matter of God’s timing, which apparently is perfect and stuff, even when we think we know better. So, still I wait on Him. But the waiting isn’t a bad thing, or a anxious thing – it is a place of peace. Peace, because I know He has seen me, heard me, and that He is faithful to his promises.

Thinking back on the promises He made to me, this made me curious about rainbows in the Bible. The most obvious occurrence is in the story of Noah. Everyone knows this story – God sends a flood to destroy the wicked people of the Earth, but saves Noah and his family on an Ark that He told Noah to build. So Noah ends up on a floating zoo for months on end, experiencing all the sounds and smells of the multitude of animals that God brought to the ark. (Which makes me wonder how Noah slept on the ark with all those noisy nocturnal animals? And if he started with two bunnies, how many did he get off with??)

There were rainbow references that I wasn’t as familiar with though. The first occurs in the book of Ezekiel, chapter 1. We read that Ezekiel was shown a vision of heaven: he saw many strange heavenly creatures that surrounded the throne of God. Then he sees Christ (pre-virgin birth and earthly life, of course) in fiery splendor.  Ezekiel tells us that “brilliant light surrounded him. Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD.”

Ezekiel describes Jesus like a rainbow. I think that that is an fabulous way to describe Jesus! And if you think about it from the rainbow/promise angle, then Ezekiel was seeing the promise of Christ to come. How cool is that?! And the brilliance of the light/rainbow that he saw caused him to fall flat on his face in worship of the one true God.

The other two references to rainbows in the Bible both come from the book of Revelation. The first is in chapter 4, and John describes a rainbow that looks like an emerald that encircles the throne of the Lord. To think that God decorates his throne room with rainbows is such a marvelous thought! And why wouldn’t He? If I could decorate with rainbows, I probably would too.

The second place a rainbow shows up in Revelation is in chapter 10. Here, we see an angel who brings for a scroll probably meant for the end times. This angel is “robed in a cloud, with a rainbow above his head; his face was like the sun, and his legs were like fiery pillars.” John is not allowed to write what he hears at this time. Then the angel directs him to eat the scroll which tastes sweet like honey, but is sour in his stomach. John is then told that he will prophecy about the nations of the world.

Reading this, I get the impression that this scroll is very important, even though we are told that it is a small scroll. And the angel who bears it is entrusted with an important task. So important, that he is wearing a beautiful, delicate rainbow over his head. Even though we do not know what was on the scroll, it may play some importance in the promises being fulfilled in the end times.

Promises. God is so faithful to all of the promises that He makes. And there are so many promises in the Bible. We also read about many instances where promises are delayed because of human error, but that’s a topic for another time (I don’t want to ramble any more than I have). I want to be someone who doesn’t delay promises that God is waiting to give me. I want to be a Rainbow Collector.

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