Sunday, September 5, 2010

When the Hurricane Passed

The other night we decided to go out for ice cream. Hurricane (or tropical storm) Earl was passing far to the south and east and denying us the good soaking rain we really needed. Instead all afternoon we'd been tantalized by sprinkles and small bursts of wind here and there.

Our little trip out that evening was okay. Not great; not horrible. Just okay. Ethan didn't really want to sit at the table in the ice cream shop and eat his dish of strawberry. He wanted to play with the door on the soda machine. Or attempt to go outside. We looked for the train but it wasn't there. Anna kept rambling in her usual six-year-old chatter and I tried to concentrate on what she was saying while also making sure Ethan didn't dash into the street to go look at another of his treasured storm drains or manhole covers. He cried for a moment about not going to see the fountain on the town green. No major disasters. But nothing spectacular. We'd had meatloaf for dinner. I picked up milk at CVS while we were out. It was that kind of evening.

As we hopped in the car toward home I suddenly decided to turn down route 159, which runs through the historic part of town. There was a road down that way that was nice to drive around sunset. We turned and hadn't gone more than a half-mile when Dan saw it. "A rainbow!" he exclaimed.

The rest of us couldn't see it at first. We kept winding around the road, craning to see through the trees. Then we took a right turn and there it was, in all of its glory, just above us. The rainbow swept over us, magnificently. I was reminded of my visit to St. Louis, years ago, of driving away and seeing the arch rising up behind us. Except here we were driving through the rainbow, under the rainbow.

Anna happened to have her children's Bible in the car. She took it out and found the story of Noah's Ark, and started reading to us the concluding lines in the story, about the rainbow. Less than three minutes later, the rainbow was gone. The sun must have shifted, and there was absolutely no trace left.

I went poking around online just a minute ago for a children's version of the story (Anna's Bible is who-knows-where right now). This is what I came across, from a page titled "The Rainbow and the Promise:"

And then God said to Noah, "Look up in the sky."

Noah looked up. The storm clouds were drifting away, the bright son was shining against Noah's back. And against the dark grey sky, God made a brilliant rainbow appear. God said to Noah,

"You see, I have set my rainbow in the sky. This will be the sign of the covenant I have made with you and all creatures, to never again destroy the earth by a flood. It will always remind us of the promise made between you and me."

So the next time you see a rainbow, think of Noah and the flood. Remember that God loves you, and no matter how bad the storm, there will always come a bright new day.

That is God's promise, and God always keeps His promises.

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