Monday, January 05, 2009
A theology of rainbows
Thoughts on the future
God will always let us see His gracious and triumphant bow when life goes hard. Have we ever noticed how a rainbow arises? The sun suddenly breaks through the clouds with magical brilliance even though the elements are still raging and their wildness has not been allayed. And now notice a strange feature, namely, that light never celebrates such a riot of color as when it breaks up into its spectrum. And this festival of light takes place at the very moment when the rays of the sun, of the sun of divine grace, clash with the raging elements of our earth.
We understand what is implied in the image. It is precisely in grief and pain, in the depths and under the storms, that God will show himself and display before us the fullness of His grace. Do you understand this? Do you understand it precisely when you consider your own life? Like myself, you can probably attest it with thanksgiving only when it has all proved true, and will again prove true, in your own life. Have you ever detected His consoling presence so clearly as when you were delivered up to the most terrible distress where no shelter could save you from the attack, no doctor help you and no human speak to you a word of real comfort?
The bow always shines with greatest comfort in times of darkness, and it is in the depths that God’s hand is stretched out with greatest love. If only we see this we will believe God’s promise. Thus the bow of mercy overarches the coming year too. It will not be only a year of terror. It will be also a year of indescribable consolations because it will be a year of the Lord, who awaits us with His miracles. At exactly the right moment a helping word will come as His messenger. His love will encounter us… and we will find that He takes from us our cares like a father. Since we have a Father, we are not adventurers. We are those who live by the surprises and miracles of their God.
Thus we stand on this threshold of the year consoled and thankful and full of cheerful hope. God gives us a further span of time, and again all things may become new... The night of the past year with its guilt may really be past in the name of God; the rainbow shines and will give a new day. The morning will break, and His mercy has no end but is new every morning and His faithfulness is great.
Helmut Theilicke, The Silence of God, "Thoughts on the Future."