Rainbows appear. They stretch. They bend. They arch across the world as a sign: Never again. But we rarely get their message down here beneath the rainbow. We fear what’s around the corner.
We keep our heads down.
We keep our sights on trouble.
We think about what we lack or what could mean our demise. We never see the rainbow. We miss the message stretched across the sky. “Nevermore, nevermore.” But old wrinkled, paleface Noah in need of some sun saw it. It was a promise to him that the earth would remain steady beneath his feet. No more floods.
“Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life” (Genesis 9:14-15).
And maybe you’ve been through a recent flood. The ink on the divorce papers is dry, but the emotions remain. Maybe you’ve lost a job. Now you have little security. Maybe the last bit of experimental drug has dripped into your veins. Maybe your child just graduated from rehab with one chip of sobriety.
Whatever your destroying flood may have been, the hardest part is watching the waters recede. Every flood leaves behind the nagging feeling that more could have been done to stop it. Plus, we feel it could happen again. And evidently Noah felt this way. He feared another flood. He knew the evil of his own heart and the evil of his offspring. Hearts always seem to grow cold. And he didn’t have it in him to build one more ark. He couldn’t go through another flood.
So, God said, “Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life.” And Noah let out a sigh of relief. He turned to the ark and bid it one last farewell, realizing a destroying flood would never be a part of his new beginning.
The reason God gave Noah the rainbow was to get his eyes off himself. He could have told Noah never again, and that would have been the end of it. But God wanted to make sure Noah’s deteriorating mind understood. Somewhere down the road Noah may have said, “Now did God say He was never going to send a flood, or did he say build another ark?”
This may sound ridiculous, but we do it every day. “Did the Lord say I had to work my way to heaven, or did He say it was by grace.” Now we may not say it, but we live as though performance determines salvation. Facts become fuzzy without a mental metaphor. Think of communion. Jesus says, “Do it in remembrance of me.” We must be reminded.
And maybe you need to see the rainbow. Maybe today you need to remember that you’ve been forgiven. Don’t beat yourself up. Anytime we turn life into a continual accusation against ourselves for the bad things we have done—those things we’ve asked forgiveness for at least a thousand times—we fail to see the rainbow that became a Cross. We fail to bid those old sins farewell, as Noah bid the ark farewell.
So maybe, right now, you need to turn to your past and bid it farewell once and for all. And even though it may rain from time to time, you are safe in the ark of Christ. Believe this, and you will never drown in your old sin again.
A new beginning awaits you.