Not that long ago, I was reminded of rainbows. It was in the midst of a tragic loss for a family we consider good friends.
The Bible tells us that God put the rainbow in the sky as a reminder to us, and to God, that he would never again send a flood to cover the whole earth. Scientifically, the rainbow is the refraction of light in the rain. The rainbow was created as a reminder of the promise between God and humanity. We can only see the rainbow as a physical result of rain that is in the sky before us.
We may well argue about how and why it appears. We may well also argue about its use in our current culture. For me, the rainbow is an essential reminder that things aren't always plain sailing. Life isn't full of happy moments. Life also has tears, grief, pain and suffering (yes, even if we do acknowledge God).
The other thing that struck me about rainbows is that just one person doesn't see it. Many people see them at the same time. We don't have to do the hard parts of life alone. From a biblical perspective, God created us to be in community. Each one of us desires to be part of a community of some sort. Even from an evolutionary perspective, we can see the need to be together (a herd). There is something deep within each one of us that clamours to be part of a caring community.
It's a comfort to me to know that being part of my church community assists me in being able to share the burden of hard times. It's also a significant honour and privilege to be part of someone else's life as they go through hard times, whether part of the church or not.
Seeing a rainbow doesn't mean that the skies are clear but that there is rain. Let's use the rainbow in the sky to remind us that others are doing life tough and they may need us to sit in the rain with them.