Why Does God Make Rainbows?

This week's reflection is written by
Rev. Richard R. DeLillio, OSFS

When a brilliant rainbow fills the sky after a thunderstorm, its vibrant colors have the mystical effect of bringing smiles to the faces of everyone watching. Why? Well, rainbows signal, with the splash across the sky, that the danger is over, in a brilliant array of glorious and varied colors and that--“All is well again!”

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But did we know that rainbows have a scriptural connection to God’s mercy? After the flood rains finally ceased, God pleased by Noah’s faithfulness, promised this sacrificing ark builder, that he would never blot out all life or disturb the order of His creation by floods again.

And to this very day, after a heavy rainstorm, God makes good on that promise, and a rainbow appears as a symbol of that promise. When a rainbow does display itself in the sky, believers recall God’s glorious covenant of mercy and kindness.

As this bow stretches across the now clear and beautifully blue sky, people everywhere spontaneously smile. They are delighted that “God remembered yet again.” To these gazing smiling onlookers, the rainbow seems to whisper through its colorful bow--“We are not alone. God is near. No need to fear.”

Some may remember a Peanuts cartoon—depicting a sad faced Charlie Brown—but who hears too, the cheerful message rainbows bring with these words: “you may feel alone, but God knows exactly where you are, and He has a good plan for your life.”

That security is what God hopes every rainbow evokes. Our daily lives often tremble with thunder and lightning--making us fearful to take the next few steps. We feel rudderless and without direction, yet our faith reminds us that God always sees us, loves us and is near us.

The rainbow’s powerful promise reminds us of “whose” we are, no matter “where” we live. We are God’s and God is our companion for life. He never sends harm, but when harm does decide to drop by, so does God who helps us through the challenge. “Either He takes away the pain or gives us the grace to endure it,” St. Francis de Sales writes.

Rainbows constantly give courage and delight. They reassure us not to look down, discouraged and distressed by a storm’s darkness, but rather to look up--“for somewhere over the rainbow” is our God. It is He who sees, knows and loves us--because in God’s eyes and heart we always matter. And the rainbow stands firm as God’s pledge of that promise.

And when it rains on your parade, look up rather than down. Without the rain, there would be no rainbow.” GK Chesterton

Somewhere over the rainbow, way up high
There's a land that I've heard of once in a lullaby.
Somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue
And the dreams that you dare to dream,
Really do come true.

Song by Judy Garland

(see Father’s Blog reference Livetodaywell.org)