Rainbow Day


I was shocked when a series of tests following a routine medical checkup, revealed that I had prostate cancer.  We selected a surgeon who came highly recommended but practiced at a hospital which was some distance from our home.  We felt the extra driving time, though, was insignificant compared to getting the right physician.

The evening before the planned surgery, we headed out for a hotel located near the hospital, so that we could arrive unhurried for an early 6:30am appointment.  It was a hot Sunday in August, and a summer storm was brewing in the distance.  As we drove to the northeast through Connecticut, we realized we were moving toward the darkening sky, headed into the heart of the storm (both literally and figuratively).   However, in the western sky at our rear, the setting sun, low in the sky, began to break through and illuminate the way ahead.  The beams of light pierced into the darkness ahead and the reflected light formed a partial rainbow, contrasted against the grey and black cloud billows. Continuing to grow as the sun became brighter, the rainbow developed portions of a second bow spaced out from the original arc.  It soon developed into an intensely bright double rainbow that touched both horizons and painted the sky ahead of us as we drove. We were stunned by the brilliance and the beauty of this phenomenon.  Even though I knew a photograph would not do justice to this beautiful display, I never-the-less wished I had a camera to capture a simple remembrance of this miracle.  I took this demonstration of God’s creation as a sign from Him, an answer to the prayers offered by many, that He was with me in this ordeal. The word “rainbow” appears only six times in the Bible, three times associated with God’s promises and three times surrounding His presence.

The surgery went well and I continued to thank God for His blessings in this trial.  It was enough that He gave me His peace, that He placed a beautiful, visible sign in the stormy sky to encourage me in my moment of need, but He was not through.

After returning to my workplace, I had an occasion to interface with a woman, who I had seen before but I had never worked with over the many years we both worked at the same company. To this day, I only had reason to enter her office one time.  But when I did, I noticed a picture pinned to the wall near her desk.  “Ah”, I exclaimed, “a double rainbow!”  “Yes”, she replied.  Her brother-in-law had taken a picture of the rainbow from the deck at the rear of his house.  I related my story about my rainbow experience, and the more we talked, it became evident that her picture could very well be of the same rainbow.  She checked with her brother-in-law who lived near the area where I had seen the rainbow, and sure enough, he had snapped this picture on the same early evening two months earlier.  The next day she e-mailed me a copy of my rainbow.

And so, August 17th became known as Rainbow Day, and each year after on the anniversary of this day, I would remember and celebrate this miracle of my Lord.  Since that day, rainbows and the numerical digits 8 1 7 have popped up at interesting times. To date, however, the most special connection with the original Rainbow Day came four years later when my first grandson, Cole, came into the world.

My daughter Ali’s due date was August 7, 2007, a day eagerly anticipated by both families as we looked forward to the arrival of the first member of a new generation.  But as the day approached, our grandson showed no signs that he was ready make his entrance into the world.  The long-awaited day came and went, and then one by one, the days slowly passed without incident.  When is he coming?  Everyone agreed, “He’s late!”

Finally, a week and a half “late”, little Cole arrived on the evening of August 17th, 2007, exactly 4 years to the day that we had seen the rainbow.

The morning following my grandson’s birth, as I was sitting down to have my morning devotion time, I thought the Lord might give me a Scripture passage related to Cole’s birth.  I opened the devotional for that day and the key Scripture verse for that reading was Jeremiah 8:7.  “Even the stork in the heavens knows her appointed times . . .”   and we all thought he Cole was late!  Buried in this book of the Bible that centers on the prophet Jeremiah’s warnings to the Jewish people, there was a hidden verse that spoke to a very special event in our lives.  With a twist of humor, God alluded to the old myth of the stork that delivers babies, to remind me that the Creator of the heavens and the earth, the Giver of life, designated that specific time for my grandson to be born.

It wasn’t until much later that I realized that the chapter and verse of this Scripture (8:7) tied in with the original due date of 8/7.  It was as though God was saying “Yes, I knew when the due date was supposed to be, but I had other plans.” (better plans!)

My God overwhelms me with his concern for my welfare.  There are times when the fires of life are very hot and it seems that He just isn’t there.  But in our time of need, He knows what we need and when we need it.  Every time I see a rainbow, I remember that His presence is always with us and that He keeps His precious promises to us.  I even rejoice when it rains and I scan the horizon, but there are no rainbows.  It reminds me that my double rainbow was very special.