by Melissa Barnes

Almost thirteen years ago, my husband’s aunt lost her battle with lung cancer. She died in a fourth-floor hospital room. Two floors above in the same hospital at the exact moment of her death, her daughter-in-law was in labor giving birth to her first granddaughter. The baby was born a couple of hours after her grandmother passed away.

Rarely in our human lives do we witness such an intersection of joy and grief. Life is full of these moments, but they seldom overlap in such a vivid way.

Last week a sister-in-Christ at my church celebrated the first birthday of her twin boys, one of whom opened gifts and ate cake in her home while the other celebrated with Jesus in heaven. I would never pretend to know what that day felt like for my friend. As I prayed for her that day, however, I thought of those surreal moments when we look outside our window and see rain pouring down while the sun shines brightly. Such a contradiction!

Or is it?

When we witness those “rain while the sun shines” moments, the first thing most of us do is look for the rainbow. Rainbows usually surprise us, but on those rare days, we anticipate them and search the rain-drenched, sunny sky for that beautiful miracle. We expect them because we understand our Creator, we claim His promise, and we comprehend what is necessary to create a rainbow.

This is no accident. Romans 1:20 tells us that “since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse” (NIV’84). God reveals Himself to us through His creation.

Those unique moments when we witness the blending of joy and tragedy or rain and sunshine give us a brief but powerful glimpse into the view God has all the time. One of the great mysteries of the nature of our Creator is that He transcends time. First Peter 3:8 tells us that “with the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day” (NIV’84). When He looks down on our lives, He sees it all. We live in the moment, but God’s perspective is eternal. He doesn’t just see the rain or the sunshine in isolation; he sees them intermingled with the rainbow they produce.

Occasionally, God allows us to see with His rainbow vision. When that occurs, we can peer eagerly into the sky for a glimpse of the rainbow we have grown to expect when rain and sun intersect. The rest of the time, He calls us to trust that even if we can only see the rain for now, the rainbow will come in His perfect time.

Ask God to help you trust Him through the joy and grief in your life. Thank Him when He blesses you with the revelation of His character through nature and through everyday life. Praise Him for His faithfulness in all circumstances.