There are very few things that will make New Yorkers stop what they are doing, take their eyes off their phones and look up.
But last night, New York City witnessed an act of mother nature so spectacular, that even hardened New Yorkers took note.
A magnificent double rainbow — two full arches — end to end, glowed over Manhattan, after a weekend full of thunderstorms.
It was truly dramatic — gleaming against the dark rain clouds. I was on my way to grab a drink with a girlfriend, and it stopped me in my tracks.
Clearly, I wasn’t the only one. Because for the rest of that night, and all day today, social media has been flooded with images of the double rainbow arches.
I don’t know about you, but whenever I see a rainbow, my mind instantly goes to Noah and the ark – with the rainbow being God’s promise to mankind that He will never destroy the earth again with a flood.
And reflecting on that today, in our post-pandemic, 2021 existence…that symbol kind of hits different, if you know what I mean.
Covid has been really difficult on a lot of people, especially in regards to our faith. We’ve had to navigate some pretty dark times, isolated, unable to attend church in person, and full of fear. And that combination has put our faith to the test in a big way.
Couple that with the civil unrest in the streets, the financial hardships that so many of us endured from the pandemic, the lack of human interaction, and just the sheer volume of death in the world — there were definitely moments when I was questioning where is God in all of this?
That feeling of abandonment. Forgotten in a world that was sinking like the Titanic in the night.
Were the prayers of the millions and millions of frightened, hurting people, pleading for an end to the pandemic falling on deaf ears? Does God just not care that people are dying alone in hospital beds, unable to see their loved ones one last time? Is there no mercy in His heart, to stop this terrible virus?
And living through it in New York City – the epicenter – the hardest hit, it was like living through the apocalypse. I would have to walk past the freezer trucks that were acting as makeshift morgues outside the hospital in my neighborhood.
I watched the USS Comfort sail up the Hudson River, to aid in the massive hospital crisis we faced. Deserted streets. Vacant storefronts. All we needed was Will Smith and we had ourselves a blockbuster.
And tonight, to see these two incredible rainbows fully stretch from end to end over this walloped city – it was a powerful sight to behold.
That’s one thing I’ve learned, first hand, about God: He keeps His promises.
There was a verse I clung to when I was at inpatient treatment for my recovery from anorexia. It was John 10:10 – “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
Though, at the time, I didn’t know what it would look like to have a life “to the full,” I knew that God would give me just that.
I had been letting the thief control me through the eating disorder. “Steal, kill and destroy” — yeah, that was exactly what He was doing with me. I finally surrendered everything to God – the control, the healing process, the fears, what I ate, the moment-to-moment struggles — I surrendered it all, knowing that He promised me a new life. A full life.
And standing here today, this full life I’m living — healed, healthy, with a full head of hair again, menstruating, thriving, back to the girl I used to be — my life is living testimony to God’s fulfillment of His promises.
I’d like to think that those rainbows last night were little nudges of encouragement from God that He hasn’t forgotten about us. That He hasn’t forsaken us. Many – myself included – see this vaccine as an answer to those millions and millions of prayers — a life raft, provided by the Father to save us from this virus.
Many, myself included, can see a faint silver lining in this pandemic: that it brought back into focus that which truly matters in this life: family, loved ones, our faith, being together.
Many – myself included – can appreciate how this pandemic brought about a real thirst for God and His presence — a relationship that many – myself included – may have been taking for granted before the pandemic.
Whatever this pandemic has brought about – the good, the bad, the ugly – I’d like to think God was reminding us of His goodness last night.
That, like He promised Noah that He would not destroy the earth through flood ever again, that He will get us through this season, too. He is in control, and can bring about good from even the darkest situations.
What have you taken away from this pandemic? What has it taught you, good/bad/or ugly?
“This is what the Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.” Ez 37:5
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