What is it about a rainbow that captures our attention when we are fortunate enough to see one? Is it the beautiful array of colors? The way it can seem to magically appear after a storm or rain shower? Maybe it’s just me, but whenever I’ve seen a rainbow it just brightens my day and lifts my spirits. It’s not just because I am a very visual person and appreciate beautiful things, but also because I’m reminded of the way God loves us and His promises for each one of us. Last weekend I was confronted with probably the biggest, brightest rainbow I’ve seen in my life and I’ve been wanting to share about it with you all. Sure, I wanted to share about how gorgeous it was, the brilliant colors that were on display, and the perfect arc it made in the sky, but the back story about what happened before the rainbow sighting made it extra special.
This story actually begins when we were confronted with the news that my maternal grandmother, my dear Mom-Mom, was diagnosed with a fast-growing brain tumor and was not expected to live for more than a couple of months. She wasn’t in the best health to begin with and at that point was capable of refusing treatments for this cancer, as she probably wouldn’t be able to withstand any major surgery or aggressive treatments anyhow. She seemed okay with this, and as a God-fearing Christian woman, was ready to go to her heavenly home. Our family had the wonderful privelege of going to visit her with all of her great-grandchildren in attendance and simply enjoy spending time together. After our visit, her condition worsened and two weekends ago, my brother and I went up to visit her for what we knew was our last time. When I say we went “up” to visit her, I mean North. We live in Southeastern PA and she lives in the very Northern part of our great state. It was extremely difficult to see her in lots of ways as she had lost many of her capabilities, physically, verbally, and in other ways as well. However, when she saw him and I walk up to the porch of her nursing home, her face lit up in recognition. Though she couldn’t say our names, she seemed to know exactly who we were and was delighted to see her grandchildren. We were able to visit for several hours and right before we left, she was very bright-eyed, animated, and trying to communicate with us both, alternately squeezing our hands. I was openly crying at this point and she clearly said to me, “You’ll be sad, but I’ll be okay.” Soon after this we reluctantly left, kissing her and saying goodbye. Two days later we got the call that she had indeed passed on to her heavenly home. When the kids got home from school that afternoon, I had to tell them what happened. My 5 year old niece was here too, and she matter-of-factly said, “She’s probably hugging Jesus right now.” I told her that she was probably right. My 10 year old son also piped up with “She’s probably hugging Pop-Pop too.” (My Pop-Pop had passed away @9 years ago.) I told him he was likely right too.
So, a few days later, off we went, this time as a whole family for the memorial service of my sweet, loving Mom-Mom. Unless you are also a PA resident, you may not have thought of it yet, but if you live anywhere in our area, you’ll know that the Susquehanna River had massive historic flooding that very week. A multitude of roads were closed, including lots of major routes that we usually used to travel upstate.
We knew it was going to take longer than normal to travel there, so we left extra early that morning. Well, I can say this now, it’s a trip we won’t likely forget. Quite literally every road we tried to travel on was closed due to flooding. My husband and I both were extremely frustrated as we tried different routes. Finally, finally! we were able to cross the swollen, muddy Susquehanna River. I kept pointing out different sights to the kids as that area was as I’ve never seen it before. We saw tons of flood damage and my heart went out to the folks who live along the river and other connected waterways. Well, we finally arrived at our destination–6 hours later! I am ashamed and embarassed to admit that I was literally late to my grandmother’s funeral. (Not for lack of trying, believe me.) At the short burial service the pastor focused on the promises that God has for us in His word and especially to those who believe and trust in Him. I have the absolute assurance that my Mom-Mom is worshipping at the feet of Jesus in heaven. She often loved to sing, so I can just imagine that that’s what she is doing right now! What a beautiful picture I can imagine of her, singing away and perfect in body and mind.
After the services, we spent time with my Mom’s family for awhile. We had booked a hotel room for the night so we didn’t have to drive home that evening (thank God!). Driving to the hotel, my son Andrew called out loudly–“Look Mom, Look!!” There in the sky was that unbelieveable rainbow I wrote about. As I mentioned earlier, probably the biggest and brightest one I’ve ever encountered. I so wish I had my camera handy at that moment, but I did not. However, I did soak in the view and silently thanked God for allowing us to see that wonderful sight. I mused upon the fact that God first sent a rainbow as a promise to Noah that he would never again flood the earth. As we settled in our room for the night, the connections between all that had happened fired away in my head. The flood. The funeral. The mentions of God’s promises. And finally, the rainbow.