The phone rang around dusk yesterday, October 15, 2015. My oldest son said, “Dad you really need to take a look at the sky right now.” I headed to the porch where I was treated to a magnificent spectacle in our Northern Michigan sky. A stunning double rainbow could be seen from end to end, stretching over blazing autumn leaves more colorful than cameras could adequately record.
Those familiar with the account of Noah and his ark know the significance of a rainbow. It is a promise. God promised He would never again wipe life off the entire earth by a universal flood. Whatever other ways the meaning of the rainbow has been hijacked today, to me it will always mean that God made a promise. Never again. And He has kept that promise.
Now, when I make a promise (which I've learned to make sparingly), I try very hard to keep it. I vowed to my wife I would never abandon her. I've told my kids I will never stop loving them. Have you ever tried to coax a timid child to risk sharing her opinion? If she said, "Promise not to laugh?" your reassuring response might be, "I would never do that." But what if that sincere and innocent opinion comes out in such an unexpected funny way a is just too unbearably cute to hold a straight face? Can you keep that promise? An argument could be made that perhaps it's safer not to make "never" promises. The age old cliché "never say never" (first recorded, by the way, in 1837 by Charles Dickens in The Pickwick Papers) may be a safe general rule of thumb for humans to live by.
But the Rainbow-Maker -- the Promise-Maker/Promise-Keeper -- has dared to say "never" quite a few times. Here are a few interesting examples for your encouragement:
1) "He will NEVER allow the righteous to be shaken" (Psalm 55:22). And that's precisely why, if you are His child, you can "cast your burden upon the Lord." ANY burden. EVERY burden. YOUR burden.
2) "...the God of Heaven will set up a Kingdom that will NEVER be destroyed" (Daniel 2:44). Imagine a homeland where no threat of terror. No fear of nuclear annihilation. No moral decay. No economic crash. No climate scares. No government oppression. No dishonest politicians to throw out of office. And in this country, God has made a clear and simple way to immigrate and become a legal citizen!
3) "I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to Me will NEVER go hungry, and whoever believes in Me will NEVER thirst" (John 6:35). Captain Barboza on Pirates of the Carribbean felt an insatiable desire for an apple that could not quench his desire even if he ate it. Whenever I feast on Jesus and His Word, I invariably find satisfaction instead of disappointment.
4) "I am the Light of the world. Whoever follows Me will NEVER walk in darkness…" (John 8:12). As I walk with the Light Himself according to His Word, my mind is illumined by His teachings (Psalm 119:105). The farther I stray from Him, the fuzzier, grayer, and more confusing life gets.
5) "My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they shall NEVER perish…" (John 10:27-28). "He who believes in Me, if though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in Me will NEVER die…" (John 11:25-26). Most flocks will eventually face the slaughter house. Jesus promises His flock His house.
6) "Love NEVER fails…" (1 Corinthians 13:8). Genuine love cannot be argued away, silenced, eradicated, or disarmed. It accomplishes many things that deceit, threats, money, manipulation, strong-arming, and laws cannot. The effects of its supernatural and sacrificial nature continue once the vessels that carried it are long gone. If this were not so, then why do millions of true followers of God’s love Gift to the world still spread that love all over the globe 2,000 years later?
7) "He has given us new birth…into an inheritance that can NEVER perish, spoil or fade" (1 Peter 1:4). "And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will NEVER fade away" (1 Peter 5:4). God’s promises indestructible rewards with an eternal guarantee. There is no better warranty.
8) " NEVER will I leave you; NEVER will I forsake you" (Hebrews 13:5). This is the “double rainbow” of promises. The original language is so emphatic that it literally means “NEVER, NEVER will I fail you; and NEVER, NEVER will I in any way abandon you.”
Are you feeling alone? I thought someone reading this might. I just thought I’d let you know that there is a double rainbow here worth focusing on.
Thanks to my daughter-in-law, Jennifer, who took these shots outside her door near Traverse City, Michigan.
I'm Gary Bower...
...a father with twelve kids, seven of them married with kids. That leaves five still at home. My business partner and best friend, Jan Bower, is an amazing artist who also happens to be my wife of 40 years. For most of those years we made children together; now we just make children's books. Last I checked we have twenty-five grandkids in the cookie jar and one in the oven.