Monday, 8 August 2011

Tracing Rainbows

O Joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
And feel the promise is not vain,
That morn shall tearless be.

These words are found in a hymn written by George Mattheson (the story behind why he wrote this is quite incredible but not the point of this blog).

The phrase 'I trace the rainbow through the rain' was one which had never really registered with me before but which I haven' been able to stop thinking about this week. He is referring back to the story of Noah's Ark when the world experienced God's judgment for it's wickedness. In the account of Noah's ark God saw the wickedness of the world and sent rain in judgment. However, following the flood God gave Noah the sign of the rainbow. A promise that he would never again judge the world like this and that the world would continue to enjoy God's blessing.

So this image of tracing the rainbow through the rain is the image of seeking out God's grace, seeking out God's promises even in the midst of difficulties and disasters. These are the words of a man saying that when he is going through hardship rather than concentrating on the 'rain' which is all around him he is going to work hard to find the comfort offered by the rainbow (God's promises).

From our point of view this would look like in the midst of the incredible grief caused by the death of a loved one we would work hard to fix our eyes on God's promise that he will never leave us or forsake us.

This would look like in the midst of illness and suffering we would not become consumed by our pain but rather work hard to instead focus on God's promise of resurrection bodies without pain.

This would look like in the midst of stress at work we don't become obsessed with thinking about or worrying about things at work but instead set our minds on God's promise of perfect rest and rewarding work.

And the symbol of all these promises of God is found at the cross. So if we are to trace the rainbow through the rain we actually are to trace the cross. We are to work hard to see the cross and remember that it acts as God's guarantee of those promises which we need during those difficult times. Tracing rainbows in the midst of rain is a hard thing to do but that is the way which Christians must deal with the difficulties and pain they inevitably go through.

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