It was a perfect rainbow – brilliant and glowing, descending in a graceful curve to where it entered the puffy cumulus clouds. I gasped in wonder, delighting in the surprising novelty of seeing a rainbow from above. But within seconds the rainbow disappeared, as our plane was engulfed by misty greyish-white clouds. All that was left was a memory of the beautiful and brief image.
Rainbows aren’t just rainbows, you know.
The first rainbow was placed in the clouds by God after the worldwide flood, a visual reminder of the covenant God made that day, to never flood the whole earth again. God said that He would look at the rainbow and remember His promise to Noah, his children, and all future generations. Read about it here.
Rainbows remind me not just of that very important promise, but of all the other promises God has made in the Bible. He is a Covenant-Making God, a Promise-Speaking God. And what God says, He does. Oh, sometimes it takes longer than we wish or imagine. But someday, every single promise will become reality.
This month, I read Counting Grains of Sand, by Natasha Metzler, a friend from upstate New York. It was published just last week, and I want to recommend it to as many people as possible. Natasha’s book is a rainbow, a brilliant, glowing reminder of the promises of God. Please don’t think that it is all beautiful and joyful and heavenly, though, oh no.
This book is honest about the clouds, too – the black storm clouds that for a time, swallowed up her view of God’s promises. Her journey with Christ has included very dark seasons, where promises seemed implausible, where dreams seemed impossible, where even God Himself seemed engulfed in clouds so heavy they might never lift. Natasha writes truthfully and transparently of her struggles with infertility, depression, stress, loss, grief, shattered dreams, and unfulfilled hopes. She shares how even while we are in the midst of trials, God commands us to remember who He is and what He has done, both on the pages of Scripture and in our lives.
Have you ever found yourself in moments or seasons or years of darkness, doubt, pain, fear or despair? Have you ever wandered in a spiritual or emotional wilderness? Have you ever felt like you were in a battle just to believe when all hope seemed gone? Have you struggled to remember that God has never left your side and never will?
And I wish that I had been able to read Counting Grains of Sand right then.
Because Natasha courageously and faithfully points her readers past the pain, challengint us to remember and cling to the promises and faithfulness of God. Then she goes further, pointing past the promises to Jesus Himself, Emmanuel, God with us. Natasha tells stories of how Jesus met her, transformed her and blessed her in ways she could not have imagined. Despite emotions and circumstances, she chose to trust and believe our loving Heavenly Father and His perfect plan. Natasha’s words paint glory-portraits and redemption-pictures that glow more brightly than any rainbow.
Counting Grains of Sand declares truth, powerful truth straight from the pages of Scripture in ways that just may challenge your heart and open your eyes as they did mine. Reflections about the story of Abraham and Sarah, in all its agony and triumph, bring us face-to-face with profound insights about faith, waiting, promises, and who God is.
As you read it, I pray that you will see, perhaps a bit more clearly or deeply than before, the wondrous ways of our pain-redeeming, promise-keeping God. Remember that He is a loving Heavenly Father. He sees your struggles, hurt and tears. He is faithful, and He cares, specifically and deeply, for you.
Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. Jeremiah 17:7
Let Israel hope in the LORD: for with the LORD there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption. Psalm 130:7