It was July 9, 2009, 5:12 am. We were already 2 minutes late. We jumped into the car, backed out of the driveway and made our way to the freeway - south to Columbus.
It was cold, unusually cold for summertime. Strong winds beat against the side of the car as we sped down the empty highway. I struggled to keep the car on the road and in the distance, a green glow on the horizon meant that a fierce storm was coming.
The swirling storm clouds in our hearts were more fierce than the ones flying over our heads. We were facing an upheaval that would change our lives and test our faith as never before. We took turns praying in the car, first Arthur, then me and then Arthur again.
When we arrived at Arthur's workplace, he leapt out of the car and sprinted to the time clock to punch the 6 numbers into that machine before 5:34 am. I glanced at the dashboard clock in the car - 5:33 am. A quick beep-beep, a wave goodbye and then, the lonely drive back home.
The wind had subsided as I pulled up to the house. "I can't go in yet." I thought to myself. "When the hailstorm comes, I'll go in and try to do the dishes."
My shoulders were stooped over and my head was bowed down as I trudged up those four steps to a secluded place in the garden where a tiny pear tree grows. I was on the verge of a cloudburst of tears and in my heart, I repeated, "O LORD, O God, have mercy, have mercy..."
Somehow, I lifted up my head. I looked up into the black sky and there, filling the sky from left to right and arching up over my head to the very top of the heavens was A RAINBOW! The light of the rising sun behind me had pierced through the black clouds and projected a rainbow of enormous proportions against the stormy sky in front of my eyes. I saw a glorious rainbow in the bleak morning light.
The sight of it shook me to the core of my being. I was stunned. I cried, "LORD, forgive me! Forgive my sin. Forgive my unbelief!" As I stared at this most awesome sight, I heard a chorus of voices in my soul singing these words to a distinct new melody:
I set My Bow and clouds aglow:
A Token of love to thee.
I set My Bow that you might know
My Covenant love for thee.
I stared at that beautiful bow until the colors faded away into the gentle blue of the clearing dawn. The storm had blown over. Everything around me was still and quiet. I went into the house and sounded out the rainbow melody at the keyboard. I made a digital recording of a piano improvisation and saved the new tune file on my computer.
I look back now and see that on that day, the LORD was graciously pressing us into service, conscripting us into a new work in the kingdom of God and His Christ that would require total surrender, radical faith.
Athough we were expecting changes, having prayed many months for this grace to love Him first and exclusively, we were frightened and winced as He began cutting away the unfruitful branches. We panicked, like Peter did when he began to sink in the rough waters on his way to embrace the LORD Jesus in the middle of a stormy sea. We knew, especially when we began praying for revival in November '08 after Mom went to be with the LORD, that there would be major upheavals in everything all around us. But the changes He brought to our lives, our souls, were painful.
Will the LORD harm the ones He loves? Will He crush and not bind up? Will he let us wither on the vine? Will He abandon any soul who longs to follow after Him with all their heart?
Pastor Don Fortner of Grace Baptist Church of Danville, Kentucky addresses this issue and these questions so excellently, so wonderfully and so vividly in his sermon entitled, "Radical Faith In God's Son". The Scripture text is Proverbs 3:5-6: "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths".
Please, please, listen and understand that the LORD Jesus Christ will have all of you or He will have none of you. We have been so encouraged by this message and praise our God, who is daily teaching us to "stack arms and surrender" and especially, that there is no fear, no lack and no confusion that can overtake us as we commit our souls completely to the LORD Jesus Christ.
So, what has become of that song? I haven't forgotten that song! I ask the LORD about it quite often, but know this, the hymn writing is a work that He is accomplishing in us by His grace. We trust that He will complete that song is His Own time. We are learning to let Him guide us each and every day.
And what about that rainbow? Wasn't that just a silly coincidence? Friend, in Christ there are no coincidental events. Every event, every thought, every inclination of the believer's heart is in the Hand of the Great King. I do not ask for a sign to tempt God in my unbelief, as the Pharisees did, saying, "Master, we would see a sign from Thee." (Matthew 12:38) Oh no! I have been redeemed. I already believe and as a child of God, I ask the LORD, as King David did, for a "token for good" (Psalm 86:17), that I might go on by faith into more and more of the knowledge of Christ, my Saviour. God is faithful to communicate through His Word and by His Spirit and in every event. He gives many, many tokens to His people. Each token He gives to me is a message from Him that my God is with me, protecting, saving, providing, loving, guiding.
The rainbow is a physical phenomenon with very specific spiritual meaning. I will leave you with a portion of God's Word that explains exactly what is meant by the sight of the rainbow - for not only does it means something to every believer, it also means something to God!
Genesis 9:11-16. There, the LORD Jesus Christ declares, "And I will establish My Covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth.
v. 12 And God said, This is the Token of the Covenant which I make between Me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations:
v.13 I do set My Bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a Token of a Covenant between Me and the earth.
v. 14 And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the Bow shall be seen in the cloud:
v. 15 And I will remember My Covenant, which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.
v. 16 And the Bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon It, that I may remember the everlasting Covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth."
Do you sing or play an instrument? Download the music notation for the new hymn, "Shew Me A Token For Good", and really enjoy the music by singing and playing it yourself. It's all posted at our eDocs tab.
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