Monday, April 22, 2019

The Rainbows & Volcanoes of God’s Promise

Just like everyone else in this world, I have good days and bad days. There are even times when our bad days can turn into bad weeks, bad chapters, even bad seasons of life. But, in recent years I’ve noticed something on those bad days— especially the ones that start out with the potential of being the worst. First, let me give you some context.

Every day my wife and I take turns dropping our kids off at school. Our daughter’s school is about a 3 minute drive, just down the road. Our son’s, however, is about 15 minutes down the mountain, making it about a 30 minute ordeal from start to finish. The road we take opens up into a breathtaking panorama of the town below at a certain point. Before the view, it’s a bit of a ‘straight-away,’ where on a clear day you get the first glimpse of the snow-capped volcano known as Cayambe. In that tunnel-like road, Cayambe towers above you and looks huge and impressive. After leaving that straight section, however, the forced perspective changes as you look into the valley below with the remarkable view. Interestingly, Cayambe looks smaller, but is now in context to the broader surroundings, painting the backdrop to the town below and mountains all around. It’s a breathtaking panorama. 

The thing is, the number of incredibly clear days here with no clouds in the sky are fewer than one might imagine. Certain months are better for being able to see the various snow-capped volcanoes here in Ecuador, but regardless, even those of us who live here year-round get excited when the snow-capped volcanoes are ‘out.’

Let’s go back to those ‘hard days.’ I often think of Noah who was trapped in that ark with so many animals waiting for the day that he and his family could once again step out onto dry land. The day finally comes, and God blesses him with the rainbow: His promise never to flood the earth again. His promise of faithfulness— a simple reminder of His presence and involvement in our lives. In the same way, I can’t deny that God reminds me of that same promise on those days that I head down the mountain to drop off my son, and suddenly see her: Cayambe, in all of her glory, towering above me. All creation declares the glory of God! Just as the rainbow serves as a reminder of God’s promise, those days that I am burdened, stressed, losing hope, and in great need of a reminder of God’s presence— those are the days that I head down the road and am blown away by the majesty of creation as I stare at the snow-capped volcano, Cayambe. 

The doubting Thomas in me wants to chalk it up to coincidence or something less ‘holy;’ but, it has happened dozens of times now, and always on those days I need it the most. The ironic thing is that I always forget. You would think I’d come to anticipate it, now. But, I’m usually so caught up in myself or my problems, that as I drive down the road with the weight of the world or negative attitudes I’m carrying, I’m surprised and taken aback every time as my eyes see the mountains. It’s not fabricated. I truly believe it’s God reaching down to earth and involving himself in my life. And, the thing is He does that for all of us on a daily basis— if we simply stop to look around and recognize the many blessings that surround us.

We have running water. We have warm homes. We have cars, tv’s, phones, hot food, access to almost anything we can imagine. And yet, we so often feel alone, upset, and desire to have more than what we already possess. We can become so inwardly focused, we often forget to include God in our daily conversations, decisions, and thought-life. He’s right there— waiting. Waiting for us to acknowledge Him, waiting for us to accept His peace, His joy— the things that He offers us so freely. Yet we’re constantly distracted by our modern ‘conveniences’ and don’t recognize the need to daily invite our Creator to take part in our everyday lives.

What is weighing you down today? What burden are you carrying? What has constituted a ‘bad day’ for you recently? Your Heavenly Father invites you to lay your burdens down, to open your eyes to His goodness and peace, as He longs to remind you that He’s there. He’s caring for you. He’s providing for you. He’s protecting you. He has plans to prosper you, and not to harm you. Perhaps the clear view of a snow-capped volcano is what you need as a reminder of His presence— or perhaps it’s simply taking in what’s around you and recognizing the blessing of His provision, His creation, the people around you who care. Take the time today to really take in the things around you. Choose to see the rainbows and volcanoes of God’s presence and promise. He is with you and He loves you.