There was a rainbow in Los Angeles the other day. Not just any rainbow, either. It made a wide arc across the sky, with only the merest fraction not visible under the horizon. At some points, it was even a double rainbow.
This extraordinary halo of color made me pull my car over to the side of the road and just stare. Even though rain was still pouring down (and was predicted to continue for five days), this sight inspired me with hope and faith.
You see, a lot of people in L.A. are nervous right now about the effects of El Nio this winter. Predictions of destructive weather in California and in other parts of the world sometimes sound dire. Daily forecasts of excessive rain have dampened people's outlook and served to discourage normal outdoor activity. Fear for personal property and safety sometimes surfaces as well.
But then there was this rainbow.
As someone who reads the Bible, I well know the story of Noah and the ark (see Gen., Chaps. 6-9). Noah, his family, and the animals are all protected by God from incredible rain and flooding, with an ark that God instructs Noah to build. When the rain finally stops, God says, "I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth" (9:13).
This promise is eternal. Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered the Science of Christ, wrote a poem that says in part: " 'Let there be light, and there was light.'/ What chased the clouds away?/ 'Twas Love whose finger traced aloud/ A bow of promise on the cloud" ("Poems," Pg. 7). God is Love. He has made an everlasting covenant with us, His children, that His care and protection will always be with us.
Lately I've been thinking of an experience I had in New England. I was working at the headquarters of the organization that publishes this newspaper, and a hurricane was coming up the East Coast. Wind and rain had started to lash my high-rise office window. Although we gamely worked on, thoughts of trying to get home and of what we'd find there were on our minds. Before heading home, we all stopped what we were doing and prayed for a while.
I'll never forget that time of prayer. I prayed to see that God is simply All, that His power, the good power of Love, is supreme over every circumstance we find ourselves in; that God's love and protection for His children are constant. I was also grateful for the knowledge that many of us were united in this same prayer.
At home, I dutifully taped up the big picture windows of my apartment and settled in to see what would come. But interestingly, I was filled with a joy and peace that couldn't be discouraged - no matter how much water was running down our street. The rain kept coming. But the area didn't experience the expected damage.
Weather forecasting is very useful because it helps us to be prepared. But when it becomes a source of fear, we need to look out. It's like the music in a scary movie - even when nothing is happening on the screen, the music's making the audience all jumpy. We can, through prayer, make sure we're not letting a frightening refrain affect our peace of mind. And this will help us in practical ways.
Take the steps you should take to be prepared for bad weather. But don't forget to trust in the ever-presence of God, our Father and Mother, to protect - and moreover bless - us.
And what about the "five-day" rain in L.A.? The rain stopped the evening of the rainbow, and we didn't get any more for several days. Each glowing sunrise brought predictions of storms by the afternoon, but each afternoon was bright and clear. When the rain started again, it was a gentle bathing coolness - and short-lived. And traffic wasn't even that bad.
This coming winter is as filled with God's presence as any other. God will be with us, and we can be still praising Him (see Ps. 84:4). If all who read this article unite in prayer on the subject of El Nio, there will be less cause for alarm. And regardless of the weather, we can expect to see positive effects.
There was a rainbow in Los Angeles the other day.