I wonder if one of the reasons we find rainbows so beautiful is because they are most often seen in the midst of a storm. How brightly their colors shine set in a background of gray! Whether that gray comes from storm clouds or an extended absence of sun.
When our daughter was young, she loved searching for rainbows, and she often found them–streaming through clouds, hidden in puddles of oil, or created by sprinkler spray. It amused me the places she’d find bits of color. All because she chose to focus on the blessings rather than the spills and clouds.
Last spring, during a particularly stressful time, our family decided to spend the day at the Plaza in Kansas City. We were in the process of moving, which required hours of meeting with realtors, roofers, tilers, painters … And as my husband spent the work week in Omaha, where we planned to move, most of this fell on my slightly ill-equipped shoulders. (I even learned to spackle!)
Needless to say, by the time Saturday evening came, I was tired, hungry, and ready to go home. (Plus I had some writing deadlines to meet.) But God had other plans, plans that hit us dead on, moments before we were to merge on the freeway.
Looking back, it was quite comical–and maybe even a bit miraculous. As we were driving toward the freeway, a tire came flying straight at us. Yes, a tire! It hit us with enough force to crumple our front end and jerk our car to the right. Then it ricocheted through the air, over the sidewalk, before landing in someone’s lawn. The car it flew off of sputtered, it’s now bald axis scraping against the pavement.
My husband pulled to the side of the road, stunned, and the young man without his front tire did the same.
I still marvel at what might have happened if the accident occurred on the freeway, as both of us merged in 70 mile per hour traffic. A hidden blessing. A life-saving miracle.
Long story short, but as we waited for the police to come, I grew increasingly impatient. (And no, I didn’t pause to think that God might have just saved our life and perhaps the lives of many others by preventing us and the loose-tire driver from entering the freeway.) It didn’t help that I had to use the restroom. But it was cold out, and the nearest possible restroom was down the road a ways.
And so, like any selfish, privileged brat, I began to feed my impatience until it grew to irritation. Our sweet daughter, also tired and hungry, noticed.
“Are you okay, Mom?”
I glanced behind me at her furrowed brow and slight frown, and it was like God shown a flashlight in my heart. By fuming, I was modeling the opposite of what I wanted to train in our daughter. And, if not careful, I could sour our evening, our weekend.
The choice was mine. Would I focus on the gloom or search for the hidden rainbow?
With God’s help, I chose the latter, and opted to head for that bathroom some distance away. It was at a fast food restaurant. I invited my daughter to join me. It was cold, and I was still hungry, but as we walked, giggles soon emerged. Silliness that can only come from the expression of a teenage heart.
What began as an inconvenience had turned into a chance to connect. And I almost missed it.
When my friend, Iris, was dying of brain cancer, we talked about miracles. Frustrated that God hadn’t healed her, I wondered aloud if God performed miracles as often today as He did in Bible times. Her response. “I believe He performs miracles all the time, but we’re so focused on seeing big miracles that we miss the little things He does every day, like showing us shooting stars.” (To understand her shooting star reference, read “When God Lights Up the Sky.”
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Each day, no matter how dreary our day or circumstances, I believe God sprinkles His blessings–His rainbows–around us, inviting us to grab hold of the blessing. The choice is ours. But let us never forget, others are watching, and our actions speak much louder than our words. They reveal the depths of our love, of our trust, of our surrender.
I’ll leave you with two verses:
Psalm 71:1 “My life is an example to many because You have been my strength and protection” (NLT). (Can you say this? Notice, it’s not about your strength or determination, but your surrender–your reliance on God for strength and perfection. Kinda simplifies things, no?)
Matthew 3:8 “Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God.” (This reminds me, my life is to “prove” the power of the gospel. How can I do that? By living a radically transformed life. And how can I live transformed? By drawing near to God, staying connected to Him, daily reading His Word, the Bible, and putting into practice what He shows me. How are you living a transformed, divinely-empowered life?)
Let’s talk about this:
Share a time when you’ve chosen to focus on God’s blessings despite an inconvenient or perhaps even painful circumstance. What was the result? Or, perhaps share the latter–a time when you allowed minor inconvenience steal your joy.
Share your thoughts and stories in the comments before or on Facebook at Living by Grace.