A Perfect Rainbow

Jane and I used to walk almost daily down the dirt road beside our home. We would go to the railroad tracks and back for two miles or sometimes double up for four. But summer’s heat, my brother’s health issues, and a personal bout with COVID got us off our routine. When we finally started back we were richly rewarded with a perfect rainbow.

Sunday, July 17th, was the first time we’d walked in a couple of months. After spending the day with Jimmy in a Macon hospital, I returned home for a long shower and nice supper. Sirens of the sofa then temptingly beckoned, but I fought them off and decided to take an overdue walk. I knew it was a good choice when Jane said she would join me.  

As we were about to leave around 8 pm, the sun was shining although rain was lightly falling in our front yard. Some old-timers say a sunshine and rain combination means the devil is beating his wife. This must have been a minor skirmish.

It wasn’t raining in our backyard, a peculiar and amusing circumstance, so we headed east toward the train tracks. Before we reached the halfway point, however, a shower had caught up with us. It was sprinkling hard enough that we took shelter under the lemonade stand.

In case you’re thirsty while passing through our neighborhood, you should know there’s not a real lemonade stand on Coley Crossing. It’s a small shed over an irrigation well. Our oldest grandchild, Abby, spent a lot of time with us in her early years and gave it that name. She traveled the road by stroller at first, then drove a little blue car until she could amble along.

Our early walks with Abby were at a leisurely pace. That’s how we discovered countless treasures including marbles, metal washers, and collectible rocks, some of which could be mistaken for gravel. Railroad spikes were among our most exciting finds. The best treasures don’t require any monetary value.

The lemonade stand offered an ideal spot to enjoy a magnificent rainbow. There may have been others I’ve forgotten which were just as lovely, but I’ve never seen one that long with both ends brushing the ground. If Jane and I had been fast enough we could have claimed two pots of gold. But gold may be what the devil and his wife were arguing about. 

On its north end the rainbow touched the far side of Chuck Coley’s cotton field. From there it made a huge half circle that crossed the road and ended where cotton and pine trees meet. It was probably a half mile long on the ground and well over a mile if tracing the arc.

Ten minutes or so later the drizzle faded along with the rainbow. Jane took several pictures but could only capture sections. A photo, however, even if it showed both ends, couldn’t do it justice. 

I had been working on a column titled “Coincidence” about God’s subtle guidance that is easy to overlook. The rainbow struck me as a clear example. Jimmy had been in the hospital or rehab for five weeks at the time and was having some terrible days. I thought this might be a sign of a new beginning. 

My expectations were to find him much better the next morning. It was disappointing to see he was worse. Miracles, I’m learning, don’t always follow our plans or timelines. I have no doubt it’s best I can’t predict what tomorrow holds. Jimmy’s situation didn’t suddenly improve like I hoped, but perhaps God had another purpose. Maybe the rainbow was to gently remind me of who’s in charge.

The tranquility that accompanied that picturesque setting is another instance where I can’t say if it was fortunate timing or something more. The rainbow wasn’t a signal I was getting what I’d prayed for, at least not on my terms. It’s odd, however, that on our first walk in a long time we were blessed with such a peaceful moment.

When we left home in the mist-filled sunlight, I thought about the devil beating his wife and hoped she was hitting him back. Then just down the road God amazed us with the same inspiring symbol he introduced to Noah long ago.

Whether that’s coincidence or divine intervention I don’t claim to understand. I can’t say why an unplanned walk delivered a rainbow we would have otherwise missed. Either way it’s a reminder of an essential element of faith. My confidence is not in a perfect rainbow. It’s in the perfect God who created it.     

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4 Responses to A Perfect Rainbow

  1. Dewel Lawrence says:

    Great column!


  2. George says:

    Neil, I enjoyed your column today. Coincidence I guess but just yesterday we stopped in Flowery Branch to get a barbeque sandwich and up in the sky was a perfect rainbow. We really enjoyed seeing it since it was perfect as you described the one that you and Jane saw.


  3. Marlene Hiland says:

    This is for sure our reminder of when we seek GOD, who is in charge, and who directs our paths, when we ask that ” HIS WILL BE DONE and not ours. It is hard at times and we think maybe we’ve been selfish in what we want and miss a valuable lesson in knowing who’s ultimately in charge of everything. GOD’S beauty is all around us if we only take the time to appreciate this! Love reading your columns!


  4. Ellen Hunsucker says:

    Beautiful article! There’s nothing like a rainbow to give you hope and remind you of God’s provision!


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