Jim came bubbling in the door tonight after vacation Bible school (VBS) eager to show me a delight in the horizon: a rainbow nestling into red and pink cotton ball clouds.
Rainbows have great meaning for me. They seem to pop up in my life at pivotal moments reminding me of God’s promises. For example, I saw a double rainbow in the sky at the same moment Jim was receiving a phone call that he would be receiving the call to Beautiful Savior as director of Christian education (DCE).
My world does not center on myself to believe that rainbows are painted in the sky just for me. After all, thousands of people have seen the rainbows I have seen, many who have important moments in their life at the same time. Tonight, for example, the rainbow appeared at church at the exact time the closing program for the evening VBS was reminding the children of God’s promise to forgive their sins.
I do, though, believe that God’s Holy Spirit can whisper to a person through the wonders of creation.
The first rainbow was a covenant promise that God would never destroy the entire earth through a flood again. The pinnacle covenant God made was to send his Son to take the punishment for the sins of the world. That covenant was fulfilled in Jesus. Now all who, through the power of the Holy Spirit, put their faith in Jesus have eternal life.
The rainbow, the VBS closing promise of the forgiveness of sins, and the covenant fulfilled in Jesus all came together for me tonight.
Let me explain.
Father’s Day was going great for my family. We attended worship, which is always the highlight of my week, ate lunch out, and saw our exchange student Nurik off at the airport.
Things can change rapidly, though. As we settled in at home, the phone rang. It was my nephew Kyle calling to tell us some heartbreaking news. His father Paul, my brother-in-law and Jim’s only sibling, had passed away unexpectedly at age 52.
Last week was a tough week. There were many emotional moments as we packed for the trip to the northwest suburbs of Chicago for the wake and funeral. One of the most heartbreaking moments was when family members at the committal service placed flowers on the casket before it was lowered into the ground.
Tonight I was reminded of God’s covenant to bring us home to him. Paul had a deep lifelong faith in Jesus. He shared that faith in written music and playing guitar for church. He lived out his faith in his role as a husband, dad, and even as an uncle. One precious memory I have of him is him sitting on the floor in our home teaching my son Christian to play the guitar. And that faith has brought him home to Jesus. It’s sad for those left behind but also a comfort to know he is in Jesus’ arms.
Jim and Paul liked to tease each other. A nickname Jim called Paul was “Ugly.” Paul even answered to that name in public. The last thing Jim said to Paul before the casket was closed for the funeral was “See you later, Ugly.”
And “see you later” it is. For in the rainbow and the cross I am reminded that we will see Paul later. Until then, “See you later.” We love you.
In his arms,