In anticipation of, and preparation for, a series of unbelievable storms, our friend Mike Allen, pastor of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Laurel, MS posted this photo. It was actually a memory from eight years prior. His caption was simple, “As we anticipate a stormy week…” I almost scrolled past his post.
It was the rainbow caught my attention—in fact, I almost didn’t see it at first. I wasn’t looking for a rainbow because where I am, it’s still hazy as hell and it’s definitely not raining. Truthfully, I didn’t even recognize who the post was from, the photo just looked like a building and gray clouds (aka nothing to see here). As I slowed my scroll, I realized I recognized the building, then I saw the rainbow, then the caption, then the original photo date, and then my friend’s name.
Almost immediately I felt the Lord’s presence and I heard him whisper Always anticipate my rainbow—my presence—as you navigate the storms of your life. All you need to do is remember I’m there, just like last time—just like this time—just like next time.
I remember I stared at the post for about three or four minutes—it’s just crazy. The day before a series of storms was set to pummel their area, and by some miracle of a random algorithm, God, via Facebook, reminded my friend Mike of a rainbow that appeared after a storm eight years ago as if to remind him that the rainbow is coming, the storms would pass—and all of that so God could remind me from over 1,731 miles away, that He was with me in my storm. Isn’t that absolutely insane and completely random? The answer is “maybe and no.” Sometimes God works in mysterious ways, but nothing with God is random.
I realize this is all based on a social media post and social media has this reputation for being a mindless past-time, a waste of time, a pointless activity that adds zero value to our daily lives, but that’s where I was, and naturally, that’s where God met me. In my experience, whenever I become conscious of God during the day, God is faithful to meet me there. It just so happened that in that moment, I was on Facebook, but rest assured He also met me in a passage of scripture, namely Psalm 139.
“Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
even there your right hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me.”
Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting!
(Taken from the ESV translation)
This Psalm reminds us that there is nowhere we can go that God is not already there—leading us, holding us, and simultaneously waiting for us. It’s a beautiful picture. I think this is why the image of the rainbow spoke to me. It was a reminder that there is no storm I will walk into, go through, or emerge from where God will not be. It’s truly a remarkable promise, one that will hold up under the weight of even a category five hurricane.
Right now, I think it’s safe to say across the world, we—all of us together—are in a collective storm. I don’t even need to know your specific circumstances. Some of us are in the eye, some are on the fringes, some are out of the worst, some are swimming, some are sinking, but we are together and God is with us, no matter what stage we are in. It’s one of the beautiful things about walking with God—there is always someone, somewhere, who is either there with us or has been there.
If you’re like me, you need reminders of God’s presence. In my life those reminders have come through passages of Scripture (like Psalm 139, Psalm 23, Psalm 144, John 16:25-33), through a call or text from a friend, through prayer, and simply talking with God—being with God. I can now add “random post on social media” to that list—maybe you can add “Kristen’s blog post” to your list.
We all need to be reminded of God’s presence at one time or another. It doesn’t matter if we are walking into a storm, if we are currently experiencing a hurricane, or if we have just emerged from the rubble. God’s presence is the rainbow—it always shows up. As we experience the storms of life, this is the rainbow we can chase. Whether through a passage of scripture, the wisdom of a Godly friend, a quiet moment in God’s presence, acknowledging God’s presence will sustain us—God can withstand any storm.
Friends, I don’t know what storm you’re in—on top of everything else going on in the world, you might be battling cancer, grieving the death of a loved one, waiting anxiously for test results, or figuring out how the hell to log into seventeen Zoom meetings for your three children while you apply mascara and attempt to drink your coffee before it gets cold. I invite you anticipate the rainbow—chase after the knowledge of God’s presence in your life. If you don’t know it in your soul already, lean into the strong faith and wisdom of someone else who knows Jesus too.
There is nowhere we have been, nowhere that we currently stand, and nowhere we can go where God is not present. We can trust that God is faithful to provide a rainbow and we are invited to chase the rainbow, no matter how gray it looks. Just know that as you chase this rainbow, I am right there with you, chasing it too. We are in it together—you, me, and God. And my friend Mike.