I was laying on my back, nestled into the incline of the grassy knoll, feeling the warmth of the sun and the cool of the earth when I squinted my eyes against the hazy sky and saw it. A rainbow.
But not your average rainbow (and if you are like me, rainbows are NEVER average) This was unusual in that 1. it had not been raining, and 2. this rainbow did not arc from ground to sky to ground but rather was circling the sun!
|of course I didn't have a camera on me to take a picture so had to rely on google images to find something that comes close to replicating what I saw.|
(I have since learned this is called a Halo-- or sundogs-- rather than a rainbow-- and they are created by reflections and/or refractions on hexagonal ice-crystals, instead of water drops.)
As I lay there marveling over what I was seeing and wondering if this was something that occurred often and I'd never noticed it before, or if this was a very rare appearance, the clouds which varied in light and dark shades, began to move in over the arc of colors.
I watched the speed at which the clouds were moving, as if they were devouring the sky in an angry feeding frenzy. How quickly the clouds changed shape! How quickly the rainbow disappeared under the haze of those cirrus clouds!
Yet as I continued to watch, I knew the rainbow colored arc was still there in the sky. It had not faded away anymore than the sun had quit shining. It was just temporarily hidden from view because of the other activities in the sky.
As I lay there marveling over this new-to-me phenomenon, I felt God draw near and whisper words of comfort and encouragement to me. He reminded me of the promise of the rainbow, that His word is full of promises and that He never breaks a promise. He reminded me that even when I can't see the fruition of things clearly, that His word is still true. The promise is still good. The rainbow is still in the sky, despite the cloud cover.
I was encouraged deeply by this experience but God wasn't done ministering to me. About an hour later I entered into a prayer session with 2 trusted prayer warriors. I had not shared anything about the rainbow experience and I came to them for prayer without any specific request or need in mind.
My two friends placed gentle hands on my shoulders and immediately I felt the Holy Spirits presence. What does that feel like? For me, it's a warm stirring within me, a tingling at times, and my senses are generally heightened in awareness of what a privileged it is to come to our God in prayer.
As my friends prayed, certain words were offered for my consideration. Words that they felt the Holy Spirit wanted me to hear. Words like 'journey' and 'promises made in the past that have yet to come to pass'. These things resonated DEEP with in me, especially in light of what had taken place under the sky just a short time before. There were several other things/words they shared that only made sense to me. I was delighted and encouraged by the prayers. It was such a confirmation!!
I have had a long journey of wondering over things in my past, waiting for things to come to fruition, or wondering if things promised were false. Wondering if I had misunderstood or misheard or if I'd screwed things up by my own sinful actions. At one time I had been seen as an intercessory prayer warrior but of late my prayer life seems weak and ineffective. Doubt and Fear choke me when I try to intercede for others. It's been a frustrating and scary time for me.
At the end of the prayer time with my friends, I felt calm and excited at the same time. I think I floated out of the chapel and I felt both exuberant and peace-filled the rest of the day.
I had some other deeply moving experiences during the retreat that I'm still processing, treasuring, and resting in. I love how God works in our lives.
The promise is still good. The rainbow is still in the sky, despite the cloud cover.