In 1996 the Britpop band “Shed Seven” sang a song I loved, called “Chasing Rainbows”. I remembered that song a while ago, when noticing rainbows and looking for them in “rainbow weather” became something that we derived great encouragement from as a family in a time of trials. Before I go any further, I want to explore what the rainbow means to us when we see it. Then we will then explore how it can enrich our study of faithfulness as a fruit of the Spirit.
What does the rainbow mean to you when you see it? Do you actively search for the rainbow in “rainbow weather”?
We are taught as young children that God put his rainbow in the sky to show that he would never ﬂood the earth again. This is a simpliﬁed explanation that we accept as children and perhaps don’t often revisit as adults. Meanwhile this beautiful natural phenomenon is interpreted in all sorts of ways by Christians and non-Christians alike. We go back to basics today and read some extracts from the accounts in Genesis:
Read Genesis 8:2–4; Genesis 9:8–17 “Down to earth”.
The only one who “sends rainbows” is God. Whilst it is sometimes said that loved ones looking down on us “send us rainbows”, or that the rainbow is a sign that our prayers are going to be answered or that everything is going to be OK. We know as Christians this is not the case. Truthfully, the encouragement we get from the rainbow is this: God placed a rainbow in the sky as a reminder of his everlasting covenant with us. It is simply a sign and a reminder of his faithfulness. We see this clearly in our Genesis passage.
In our study last month, we looked at the faithfulness of God as a model for our own faithfulness. Why have we taken so much encouragement as a family from seeing the rainbow? It reminds us that the Creator of the universe, the one we put our hope in, our faith in, who has called us by name, is a God of his Word. He keeps his promises. The covenant he made with Noah is there for generation on generation. Whatever we are going through is entrusted into his very same hands.
Read Romans 8:28
We are assured that whatever situation we are in, the Lord will work through it for our good. NOT that everything is going to turn out as we are hoping; just that he is there, and he is working.
Here are some other assurances that God is with us always. We can allow the rainbow to act as a visual prompt and reminder to go back to the Word and stand on his promise never to leave us or forsake us.
Here are some scriptures reminding us of God’s faithfulness, and that he is with us wherever we are and wherever we go:
What helps you remember the faithfulness of God throughout a time of trial?
Light, and rain, are usually what we experience when we see a rainbow. There may be dark clouds but [there is] also sun as well. Can you use this image in your mind’s eye to recall a stormy or dark season where light has broken through and reminded you of the faithfulness of God?
I recently discovered that the rainbow can be experienced as a whole circle, if viewed from the right angle, usually in a plane, on a mountain or a tall building.
Read Genesis 8:4 again.
There is a wonderful view of a full rainbow on the NASA website, called “A Full Circle Rainbow over Norway”. (If a leader is preparing this study for a group, you may like to use this link to ﬁnd and print or project the image for contemplation: https://science.nasa.gov/full-circle-rainbow-over-norway)
Perhaps this view of a full circle rainbow was the image ﬁrst seen by Noah? We can only guess, but we know that we do not see the full picture now of any of God’s work in our lives.
Read 1 Corinthians 13:12.
Imagery is common, and even necessary, as we try to comprehend God, enhance our faith, walk, and stay faithful to him. It is also commonplace to symbolise our human faithfulness to others through the use of objects, such as engagement and wedding rings – also full circle objects symbolising a covenant. Perhaps when we see the rainbow, envisioning it as a full circle covenant will help us to consider that covenant relationship in a more relational sense: it is God’s covenant with us. His faithfulness requires our faithfulness too.
Read Proverbs 1:8,9
Consider any objects you wear to symbolise a covenant, your faith, or your allegiance. Just like even rainbows, they can become “every day”, and we can forget or even distort what they mean.
As you ponder the spiritual fruit of faithfulness, remember the faithfulness you have promised to others, and cultivate that faithfulness in small ways daily, as well as looking for reminders of God’s faithfulness when we need it, and praising him for it even when the sun is shining, and the rainbow weather is nowhere to be seen.