Recent flash flooding has devastated portions of Eastern Kentucky. People have been left without homes, mourning tragic deaths, celebrating heroes, scrambling to meet needs and raising their eyes to scan the sky and river banks with every new thundercloud breaking into rain. When out driving, it is easy to find evidence of mud slides and a few sharply curved corners where the road has crumbled. After another gully washer two evenings ago, I watched impromptu waterfalls form to race down cliff faces. Those who have been impacted, either directly or through concern for loved ones, experience apprehension with each new rain storm.
Just two nights ago, sitting back on a deep porch and relaxing in a rocking chair, I watched one more storm break across the sky before going to bed. I admired the beauty of the lightning and watched the reflection of the porch lights in the light rain. Though for me that summer thunderstorm was quite enjoyable and relaxing; I could not help but think of those not very far away who must be looking at this storm with trepidation.
The storm wasn’t the only thing in the sky that day to catch my attention; a rainbow had appeared as well. With subtle color, it was nearly lost to view after being disrupted by a cloud. Subtle or no, it reminded me of the covenant that it shows us. A covenant, a promise or commitment, is shown in that and every rainbow. This promise was made when the earth was very young and recovering from a terrible flood. Genesis 9 tells us that the rainbow was provided as a “sign of the covenant between (God) and the earth.”
We all have storms and floods that occur in our lives. Sometimes we can sit on the porch, enjoying rain cooled air and the lightning show. There are other times when we are buffeted about and swept down in the currents of the floods. But in each, I keep my eyes open to look for the covenant of hope, seen in a beautiful but quiet display of dispersed light across the sky. I love seeing God’s promises, quiet and beautiful, made for us to take notice and comfort.
“And God said, ‘This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, 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. Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.’” Genesis 9:12-16