Sharper Focus “Renewal”
By Victor Leslie, Lt. Colonel
As we drove home following the afternoon rain storm, windshield wipers working but not fast enough, the wind had fun with our little car while we maneuvered our way on the potholed streets of Jamaica. Struggling to stay on our side of the road, I casually turned my head and looked up toward the mountainside and instantly, with an unknowing reflex action, my mouth opened wide in awe and admiration.
There, resting in the arms of the sky, rare and unlikely, unique in its beauty with colors streaming across the heavens, was not just one rainbow, but two. Two rainbows, in the sky at the same time, in the same place, double rainbows capturing our hearts and imaginations. Like synchronized swimmers, Rose-Marie and I mouthed our joy in perfect unison—it’s God’s promise of renewal and he just made it personal, one rainbow for each of us.
All of us know the Bible story of Noah’s Ark, with the rainbow as the sign of the renewal of hope and prosperity. God had said, “I am giving you a sign of my covenant with you and with all living creatures, for all generations to come. I have placed my rainbow in the clouds. It is the sign of my covenant with you and with all the earth” (Gen. 9: 12-13).
Many generations have come and gone but rainbows are still signs of God’s daily renewal of his covenant of peace and a new future. They promise that the storm is over, the rain has stopped, and that a new beginning is possible.
We humans need signs of renewal in this disaster-filled world where earthquakes rumble and hurricanes roar, where sadistic maniacs end children’s dreams, and where human indifference and sinful behaviors condemn us to live with tragedy. We need something that will lift our eyes, stir our spirits and renew our faith as we deal with the things that cloud our lives. And sure enough, in the clouds, we find it, in the vision of the rainbow. The message of renewal is that after the darkness will come the light; that after the most dreaded moments will come the possibilities of hope; that after the days of torment will come the time of joy—proof of God’s renewal of his covenant with us.
The rainbow promises that there are better things ahead than what we have left behind. The rainbow promises a new phase with the expectation that life moves forward after the fog and pouring rain. As we begin a new year, as we seek to renew our purpose and passion for living and to hold close what is most precious to our existence, what better time to look for the rainbow? We will see it—in the heavens as a remembrance and reminder that it is not what has happened, but what is about to happen that will move us forward.
On that wet afternoon in the midst of the storm, the double rainbows served as beautiful tokens to help move us forward. They were signs of grace—of a God of love who cares for each of us and who helps us start over when all seems lost. It was as if he were saying to each of us: “When catastrophe overtakes you like a storm, when tragedy sweeps over you like a whirlwind, when distress and trouble overwhelm you, look up. Don’t worry about a thing! See, I am renewing my promise. I’m here. And I am still at work.”
And as if to prove it, as we drove into our yard at home we looked up again and our double rainbows had followed us home—personal reminders of God’s renewal of his commitment that the future is still bright.