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Rainbow in the Rain

     During one visit to my native Barbados in the Caribbean, we were driving along the coast road towards the city. Every day, there is a short burst of convention rainfall in the morning. The clouds do not cover over the sun, and the bright blue of the sky does not fade, but it suddenly rains.

     The kids were glued to the windows, fascinated by the sight of the sun and the rain ‘fighting’. Suddenly they exclaimed: ‘Look, Mom, a rainbow in the rain!’  Right over the ocean in the midst of the rain, there was a rainbow.

     In Genesis 6, God gave Noah a rainbow after the floods and the rain had stopped, to give hope and a confirmation that He would never again destroy mankind completely in this manner. But in the Caribbean, if you look very carefully, you sometimes glimpse a rainbow in the rain. While you are going through the showers of pain, there is hope in the rain.

Hope For a Rainbow

     In spring 2009, my friend asked me to write for her online-magazine, called ‘myfrienddebbie’. I love to read, and have written things for the various churches I served over the years, and was honored and happy to be included. I was so excited as I checked out the website. I saw how beautiful it was, and the wonderful variety that was laid out there. She genuinely did mean it when she said there was something for everyone.

     Then I got to know Debbie and her family a little more at church. I loved her spirit and the way she and Billy wanted to pursue God despite all that life threw at them.  At that time, I was still reeling from my dad’s death, recovering from a bad bout of flu, dealing with school troubles with the kids, and the affects of the recession at home and at work. I was also supporting my husband in his PhD studies.

     However, as I thought about writing and how I wanted to join this venture, I remembered that I had experienced a life filled with wonderful and dramatic miracles. I was sure I would be able to write soon as God would soon come through with one of His special just-in-time, bite-your-nails solutions. The rain of trials would stop soon, to reveal a beautiful rainbow of hope, and I would be able to present stirring examples of Jesus’ provision, grace, and power to inspire and minister to the readers. How exciting!

Hope Dashed Again

     August came and my mother died, almost 7 months to the day that Dad went to be with the Lord. She passed away in the nursing home. As I rushed home to the funeral to be with my siblings, I remembered the last time we had spent together.  It was the night after my dad’s funeral.

     I slept over with her and we talked until 2:00 a.m. like girls at a sleepover. She assured me that I was not an inconvenience being born so late in her life, and that Dad willingly made sacrifices for all of us. Our family tried every way we could for her to be able to leave the nursing home, but her health was not good enough and she needed daily care.  Now, seven months later, she was gone and I rushed home to the funeral to be with my siblings.

     Each relative had a part of the story, how she said she longed to go home to her Savior and her husband of 61 years, how she wanted us to get on with our lives. The residents at the nursing home told me about the jokes she would tell, and the songs she loved to sing to them. Nothing could assuage the dull ache that I could not stop from bursting my chest and spreading to my limbs. It was too much to bear.  After the funeral, I returned to my homeland in a fog of guilt and sadness.

     I came back to a job still heavily affected by the recession, a husband still dealing from the demands of his studies, kids who needed me, no relief from the financial struggles, and the re-start of a weight gain problem that I thought I had conquered. Surely God could not want me to live like this. Almost 6 months had passed, and I still had not written anything. But, I said to myself ‘I will be able to write soon when the miracle comes.’

Hope Deferred Makes the Heart Sick (Proverbs 13:12a)

     October 2009 came and I had a wonderful time sharing my testimony with a group of 80 wonderful women, about my call and my coming to America.  Surely this month will be my breakthrough. I spent several hours praying and talking to Debbie about the shock that I was going through.

     How could God allow me to suffer so long? Had I not paid my dues earlier? Had I not gone against my nature to obey and believe Him? Had I not given up family and all I knew to come to America and minister to inner-city youths? Had I not killed my dreams for full-time ministry to obey?

     I know that I have not given my life like so many others in countries where Christians would die for their faith.  I have a wonderful husband, great kids, friends at church and a wonderful Christian family in Barbados, but I was too sad and too grief-stricken to think on these things. I could no longer disengage from the worries of daily life to enjoy the things that brought me the most pleasure, even the everyday efforts to rise and go forth were too much.

     So, when will the rain stop and the rainbow come out? When will the disappointment be gone? What if the miracle never comes? I finally confided my pain to a very close friend who said to me, ‘could this be another chance, albeit the most difficult one, to put into practice the theology that sustained you all these years? Your belief in God enabled you to succeed against the odds, and you need to let it do so again.’

     So, the rain has not stopped, but now I am looking for the rainbow in the rain, and letting each color remind me of a lesson about God’s presence.


Hope in the Colors of the Rainbow

Yellow - I Need the Light of God’s Word.

     I was so angry, that the thought of reading promises that had not yet come through was unthinkable. However, the Word of God is a life-giving balm which the enemy will do anything to stop me from reading. But when I read it, oh the peace that sweeps over me! I am like Jerusalem in Lamentations 2:13 ‘my wound is as deep as the ocean, who will heal my wound?’ In chapter three and verse 33, the Lord answers that He takes no pleasure in my suffering. Rather He cries with me and holds me very close.

Blue - I Need the Soothing Presence of God’s People.

     It is so hard to grieve away from the people who are affected. It is hard to go on and deal with the pressures of being a mom, someone who craves ministry, and a career person. But I must worship in a choir of fellow Christ-lovers. When the Spirit of the Lord in me joins with the Spirit of the Lord in my brothers and sisters, the enemy releases his grasp and his voice is drowned out. Inside I cry, ‘why can’t someone give me a solution – tell me something to do that will fix me?’ But the people of God hold me up in their prayers and remind me that ‘this too will pass’. They help me forget about myself as God uses me to encourage those who need Him just as much as I do.  As Ephesians 4:16 explains, each joint of the body of Christ supplies nourishment and support to the other. Staying away from the body of Christ will make me and those around me into just a malnourished shell.

Green - I Need God’s Constant Provision.

     I cannot demand repayment for a debt from someone who does not owe me anything. My husband, my children, my family, and my church are not my provider, but God is. Every day He provides me with life and at least one thing for which I can be thankful. The cattle on a thousand hills are His. When He is ready, He can sell a couple and provide for me in an instant!

Red - I Need God’s Passionate Love.

     God’s love is parental but also a friendly love.  He will not let up as He shapes me into His image.  I am grateful He has not tossed me into the hopelessly unfixable pile. I try to tell Him what to do: a little lighter on the hips, a little longer in the leg, a little prettier nose, and please, a pair of eyes that don’t need glasses, but He ignores me and continues to make me, prune me and shape me to be as beautiful as He needs and wants.

Violet - I Need God’s Faith.

     Faith is a gift from Him, and He will grant me a little more just to put one foot in front of the other as we walk along. Violet is defined as a mixture of red and blue light. I must mix my passion to accomplish goals with a patient trust in God. For without faith, I cannot please God (Hebrews 11:6). Some in the Hebrews’ list of faithful warriors received their miracles here, while others were privileged to suffer. But both received glory in heaven, and joined that cloud of witnesses yelling my name and cheering me on.

Amber - I Need God’s Vision Not Mine.

     I have to let go of my timetable and obey while I wait. I do know what God called me to, but He cares more about my being that my doing. He actually does know better than I do, and His schedule is unhurried, and perfect. Shall the piece of pottery tell the potter how she wants to be made? No, He knows exactly what He intends and it is more wonderful than I could imagine. The vision is worth waiting on, not only for it to arrive but my understanding of the vision to match the Lord’s.

Purple - I Need to Understand God’s Royalty.

     I am a child of the King. I am a princess who is still somewhat a child and must learn to submit to the training and responsibilities of royalty, before she can rule (Galatians 4: 1-2).  I think I am ready for the jewels and the power of being a princess, but only my Father knows when I am. He holds His power and riches, until the time at which I have the right attitude to wield them in love and grace.

Hope Makes You Shout in the Rain

     It’s spring 2010, and the miracles have not come yet but I am still standing. This is my first article for the magazine. On Sundays, when we take a long ride to the beach, I can even smile at my favorite pelicans and laugh at the beauty of the earth and sky. My children’s jokes and my husband’s voice bring joy. I breathe in and out each day and am thankful for every beautiful song I hear, each person I help at work, and the Word which reminds me that God is near.

     And did I tell you? The rain in Barbados is warm on your face and a thrill to walk in as you stroll towards the beach. So step into the rain, look up for the rainbow and shout until it comes! God is with you, and around you. He will come and walk with you as you wait for the rainbow after the rain.

Copyright © 2008-2015 Joy Brathwaite

Reader Comments...
2010-07-12 16:20:08
"Precious Joy,

It's ok to grieve. It's ok to ask questions. It's ok to be disappointed. These feelings, and stages are all chapters in the "Book of Joy." The decision for how long each chapter will be is completely up to you! It would appear you are begining a new chapter! I await with great excitement and anticipation for more thoughtful and inspiring words from the author! You are a Joy...You are my friend, and I would love to give you a hug today and tell you how proud I am of you. Love you,"
        - Becky

2010-06-10 03:07:46
"Dear Joy, Thank you very much for these timely words. Indeed, there is a rainbow in this rain and the next."
        - Glenner
2010-06-01 14:25:21
"Wonderful Article Joy! You have been an inspiration to me--always! Blessings on you my sweet friend!"
        - Rhonda
2010-05-26 08:21:53
"I thank Joy for her sharing her heart. It brought tears to my eyes. Most beautiful are the lessons seen in each color of the rainbow: wonderful reminders of God's love and care. Who else can love like He does? I relate to the loss of parents because Joy is my sister. Thanks, Joy, for this great article. May God bless you. May God fulfill your desires, as Dad would say, in His time. "
        - Lorna
2010-05-25 15:00:05
"Loved the article Joy - a real testimony -and what a real blessing it can be to others as they face their own storms.

Miss you my friend....thanks for sharing this on fb"
        - Candy

2010-05-25 11:39:56
"Joy, your parents named you well. You are such a blessing to me. You have found many, many small miracles. "
        - Heather
2010-05-25 09:36:05
What a beautiful article. I am so blessed that you would include me in your distribution list.
I am very touched by the written word when done with such passion and commitment.

        - Kathy
2010-05-25 09:15:34
"I love you my friend!! Thank you SO much for sharing your journey with me. You are an inspiration to each one of us privileged enough to have crossed paths with you. You are always a shining example of faith, wisdom, and - YES - joy to me!! Thank you from the depths of my spirit."
        - Marilyn
2010-05-25 04:12:50
"Thanks Sis, God is indeed working in our lives.
Love you!!
Beautiful article. It really caused e to appreciate the beautiful rain and rainbow God sends each day! "

        - John
2010-05-24 09:33:35
"You have a beautiful way with words.I could see the beach, feel the rain on my face and gaze at the rainbow. Thank you. This came at a perfect time. Much to think about and hold on to. I miss seeing you and look forward to seeing you again."
        - Eva
2010-05-24 08:56:40
"This was a great article for those going through the natural struggle that asks 'why' as God works on our hearts. Joy has given an honest glimpse into her soul that provides a mirror for all of us of our own struggles. "
        - Damian

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