Rainbows are everywhere. We see them in people’s windows. We see them on banners. We even see them painted on hands and faces. What springs to your mind when you see one?
In recent years, rainbow colours have come to be linked with pride flags. With so many lawyers around, we might half expect to see a case brought for trademark infringement!
But children painting rainbows are reaching back to more historic rainbow symbolism. Apparently first seen in Covid-ravaged Italy, rainbows point to peace and hope after a storm.
Here in the UK, that hope has been linked with the NHS, as people trust in healthcare professionals to save them from the global coronavirus storm.
When Christians see a rainbow they remember the world’s greatest storm that caused the flood. There’s lots of parallels with our current situation.
Before the storm
One tragedy of the lockdown is a surge in domestic violence, apparently up 20%. Immediately before the flood, the Bible tells us that the earth was filled with violence. The flood reminds us that God sees what is done in secret – even the thoughts of the heart – and calls people to account.
During the storm
Everyone today longs for a sure way to escape from Covid-19. God gave Noah a sure way to escape the flood: an ark. When you read the dimensions, this wasn’t a small ship – it could hold 40,000 sheep. It had room for anyone who would come in through the door. Jesus is like the ark. He said
“I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved.” (John 10:9)
Through his death as a substitute, Jesus provides a way to escape just judgement for those trusting in him.
After the storm
Today’s rainbow pictures point us forward in hope. The rainbow after the flood was a sign of God’s promise that he would never flood the earth again. We are reminded that whatever happens, this world is not out of control. It will not end by an asteroid or an epidemic but only when God calls time.
Peace and hope
An old children’s song begins “Whenever you see a rainbow” and it ends “remember God is love.” Noah would certainly have remembered that. Why? Because he was not saved because he was better than other people, but because he trusted in God’s way of escape.
Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. Grace is undeserved favour. It is a great comfort that God offers an alternative to being held to account for everything we have thought, said and done.
Christians know peace with God because Jesus has been punished for them. They know hope for the future because, however much suffering they encounter in this world, they trust God’s promise to bring his people safely home to heaven.
When you next see a rainbow, why not remember God’s love. You can read the account of the flood in the first book of the Bible, Genesis, chapters 6-9.
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