Anyone who has spent much time in Sunday school knows that rainbows are God’s everlasting promise to never, ever flood the earth again. They also know the story of how God gave the Israelites manna (a weird, flaky, white, edible substance) so they wouldn’t die in the wilderness on their way to the Promised Land. But what do these two different symbols, rainbows and manna, mean to college students in the 21st century?
Let’s take a look at the flaky white stuff first. God didn’t give the Israelites manna to last for a year, a month or even a week. He gave them manna for each day—every single day. He provided for them and taught them to rely on Him by filling the manna with maggots if they disobeyed Him by keeping it overnight. He didn’t always give them what they wanted (food that didn’t smell disgusting), but He always gave them what they needed (a lesson in relying on God).
It’s the same way for us. God wants us to rely on Him every single day for the (theoretical) manna only He can give us.
One morning, I woke up thinking that I was going to spend the whole day at home doing homework and helping my mom. But God dropped two jobs in my lap, and I ended up spending most of the day away from home. Yes, one of those jobs included cleaning somebody else’s toilet, but I didn’t mind because God knew that I needed a little extra help in the financial department more than I needed to be at home all day.
Some days, manna comes in the form of grace, peace or an extra job. But the point is, it always comes. I don’t think it ever looks the way we think it will, but that is part of the beauty of it.
While we are on the subject of beauty, let’s talk about rainbows! In my opinion, rainbows are the most beautiful things in the world. Since I was little, they have enthralled me. But I have never stopped to think about the fact that they wouldn’t be there unless there was rain. Elisabeth Elliot, in her book, Passion and Purity, says, “Rainbows are made out of sun and rain.” So that means that the (theoretical) rainbows in your life can’t exist unless you experience both good times and bad times.
All people have experienced rain (bad times) in their lives. Rain comes in so many different forms, and there have been so many times that I have wished the rain would just pass me by so the sunshine could come to stay. But if there were no rain, how could there be a beautiful rainbow?
Maybe the incredibly cliché Pinterest quote holds more truth than we originally thought: “Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.”