Most people are fascinated by rainbows. Almost everyone smiles when they see one, believing they are seeing a marvel of nature.
And it really is true that a rainbow is a marvel of nature. Wikipedia says this about the formation of a rainbow:
“In a primary rainbow, the arc shows red on the outer part and violet on the inner side. This rainbow is caused by light being refracted when entering a droplet of water, then reflected inside on the back of the droplet and refracted again when leaving it.”
So conditions have to be right to see this nature’s marvel. Conditions also have to be right to see a rainbow in a totally different way, as a spiritual marvel. As the story goes the rainbow appeared in the bible after the ominous flood, and God set it in the sky as a promise to never again send a flood that destroys all of life. Here is the story in the book of Genesis.
Genesis 9:13-16. New International Version (NIV)
I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 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. Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.”
I love to see a rainbow in the sky after a rainstorm. And I always remember that it is the sign of a sacred covenant with God that comforts me forever. It is a reminder that God knows about my life, that God cares about the flood waters I have experienced, that God promises to keep our covenant.