It was a normal road beneath a glorious sky. I was driving one leg of a 15-hour trip, hoping to skirt the severe storm just to the west. Perilous black clouds gathered and seemed to creep up on me. Yet on my right, the sun shone and the clouds were puffy white, enticing me to hope.
On these long trips, in the quiet moments, I find myself paying attention to what I would otherwise completely overlook. Just to keep my eyes open and the car propelling forward, I begin to notice the tumbleweed spiraling across the road, the dilapidated barn, the prairie grasses taller than my waist. My eyes pull upward, outward, acutely aware.
And just as I was dreading the storm ahead—praying for escape around it, that it wouldn’t delay this already-long drive—I saw a rainbow straight before me, where ominous clouds met the light. In the midst of my wondering and wishing and hoping, I saw a promise.
Then it was gone. Though my eyes strained to glimpse that breathtaking color against the backdrop of black clouds, it had passed only seconds after it had been visible.
A promise: a gift yet to be received. Is there a promise you’re waiting for? You’ve only glimpsed it in brief moments—the signs were gone as quickly as they came.
A relationship … a promotion … an answer … a resolution … On one side, sunny, cheerful light; on the other, a certain storm with invading black clouds. In the meeting of these two are moments of wondering, seeking out some sign of the promise given, which is now completely invisible.
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:23, ESV).
Usually a rainbow is best seen against a stormy backdrop. When we’ve grabbed the umbrella—raced out to our car to avoid getting soaked—in a quiet moment we can see something that never would have been there without the rain. A promise, too, is best seen, best received when the tumult of life has rocked what is usually steady.
The promise doesn’t mean there won’t be more rain, more storm clouds. But it gives hope that lies just beyond them.
So, what do we do in the waiting? How do we hold fast to something so fleeting? We keep our eyes open, looking for the signs of the promise given. And, most importantly, we hold fast not to the promise itself, but to the One who gave the promise in the first place.
We look not for the healing, but for the Healer. We strive not for the provision, but for the Provider. We seek not the counsel, but the Counselor. We listen not for our answer, but for the One who has every answer.
Often the answer comes in an unexpected moment, in an unexpected way. I wasn’t looking for a rainbow. I was looking for a way to bypass the storm just ahead. But God gave me a gift that instantly took my focus away from the storm and, instead, set it on His beauty.
If He’s made a promise to you, He is faithful … always. It may not come to pass the way you expect, or it might. But in the waiting for the fulfillment of a promise given, let’s keep our eyes peeled for the Giver of the promise, Who is the only promise we’ll ever truly need.
Are you waiting on the fulfillment of a promise? How do you handle the wait when it looks like your promise isn’t on its way? Will you choose to trust God with your promise regardless of what the road up ahead looks like?