On Chasing Rainbows

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On Chasing Rainbows

On Chasing Rainbows:

“What is it like to die?” I was in a hurry to reach my nearby home. Dripping-wet clothes clung to my skin and I longed to sip a cup of steaming tea that guaranteed to warm me from the inside out. Instead I stopped when I heard a child.

“What?” I asked as I bent at my knees to look directly at the wide-eyed boy.

I guessed his age to be about eight. He was standing in a rather large rain puddle, a residual of a Colorado summer shower. Wearing a yellow rain jacket with the hood framing his face, he gazed directly at me. A woman watched from a picnic table a short distance away. Her umbrella remained open as it dried. I often took a shortcut through this park on my daily walks, but I did not know the child or woman.”Is that your mom?” I inquired as I gestured toward the woman.

“Yes.”

“You asked me something?”

He nodded and repeated. “What is it like to die?” His enunciation was adult like, yet his voice was childlike.

“Oh dear, let me think.” I drew in a breath. His question was absolute. “Hmmm.” I stalled as I searched my mind for a G-rated answer to a deep question. Hope his mom isn’t sick. I thought.
“I haven’t tried dying. Guess that I’ve been too busy living.” He smiled at me as I stood. His nose wrinkled and his mouth twisted a bit before he responded.

“That’s okay.”

I wasn’t sure if he meant it was okay for me not to know what it would be like to die, or okay for me to continue with my busy living. Regardless, the absolute resolve of the boy’s question prompted me not to let this life or death discussion vanish as quickly as had the summer shower. He was curious. And I was determined to provide a better answer.

I whispered a prayer hoping for a second opportunity. “What’s your name?”

“Cole.”

“Cole, Jesus lives in my heart. I don’t know what it will be like to die. But I believe that after I die, I will be in heaven with Jesus. He died for everyone because of our sins – – you know – – the wrong things we do.” Boldness filled me as words tumbled from my tongue. “In the Bible, Jesus tells us that He is the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but . . .”

“COLE.” His mom shrilled. I hoped to continue our conversation. I did not get that chance.

A blank expression covered Cole’s face as if my answer was as clear as the muddy rainwater within which he stood. Suddenly he kicked his feet back and forth. Consequently, I jumped about two feet opposite the splashes headed in my direction. Then Cole hopped from the puddle and darted up a grassy knoll. He bent to retrieve a short pine branch. Waving the stick from left to right, his face lit up. It was as if the wood turned magical and manifested itself into a shining sword. He shouted while pointing it toward the sky. “My sword will conquer death and take me to gold—I’ll find treasure at the end of that rainbow.”

I glanced up. The sun peeked from around clusters of clouds and a beautiful rainbow arched above us. Then I watched a boy become a crusader on a quest to defeat death while in search of gold. Cole ran away chasing the rainbow. And his mom with umbrella opened resembled Mary Poppins racing after him.

As I headed home, I focused on the spectrum of vibrant purple, green and yellow which stretched across the vast blue sky. If I chased it, perhaps I too could reach beyond it. But I supposed the harder I would run, the farther still, magnificence beyond would elude me.

I shivered. My shoes and socks were soaked. Soon the rainbow faded, then disappeared from my sight. But not from my mind. I thought about Cole who asked a question few adults dare to ask. “What is it like to die?” Then I noticed how quickly his attention diverted—after I quoted Words from Jesus.

Oh to be a child again. I thought. Then I considered that we adults are much like Cole. Distracted. We are inclined to become confused about God’s words and chase rainbows in our quest to cheat death while we seek our treasure. And I weighed how we too create our own magic swords. Don’t we dabble into varying mental and spiritual philosophies or religions, even as basic as the worship of self? Don’t we too retrieve wooden sticks and mold them into idols? Perhaps it’s an addiction, a relationship, a job or a family culture that calls us to seek something that pulls us in the opposite direction of God.

Lately, I’ve asked myself why some of us so easily accept the cross, death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. And I’ve wondered why others of us are apathetic seemingly shunning Him, and a few of us even mock Christ?

But mostly I’ve sought understanding of my Heavenly Father’s point of view leading up to and during the death of His Son. What love would allow a son to be bullied, beaten, pierced, and to die of asphyxiation? I can only visualize the Heavenly Father’s heart splitting in a zillion pieces as scenes of sheer agony played out in the Garden of Gethsemane. While bloody sweat oozed from the pores of Jesus, He pleaded with the Father to let the cup of death pass from Him. (Matthew 26:39) Wasn’t there another way?

No! There was only one plan. A plan B would not suffice. Determined to fulfill the will of His Father Jesus took on the sin of the world.

Then . . . there was the cry from the cross. “. . . My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46 NASB)

Still . . . silence.

How excruciating. How gut-wrenching to do nothing. How could the Father NOT rescue His Son? What parent would not interfere?

Unfathomable – – right? Until we discover that the perfect parent exhibited the perfect love and applied the perfect answer. Plan A. Jesus was the answer. His crucifixion paid the price for the sin of mankind. It was man’s only hope. By NOT rescuing the Son from death, the Father rescued you and me for Eternity. And three days after Jesus conquered sin and death—He arose. That love opened the way for God to freely give eternal life. Jesus was the only way for man to be in relationship with God.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him” (John 3:16-17 NASB).

Quite frankly, the Father’s unconditional love leaves me dumbfounded. Without question, His love defines the true essence of love; reaching beyond heaven and earth drawing us in transparency to Him. It’s a love that humanly bled for us and spiritually walks with us.

We may try, but can we ever expect to fully empathize with the Heavenly Father? Or humanize the shattering of His heart while Jesus carried our sin into the pit of incomprehensible destruction, doom and death? We can only imagine that the Father etched His moments of horrendous grief into a branding iron of passionate love for those who believe in His Son.

God provided the rainbow as a sign of His covenant with man—that never again shall the water become a flood to destroy all flesh (Genesis 9: 8-17).

And in the death of Jesus Christ, the way was provided for mankind (representing all peoples) to pass from eternal death to eternal life. “. . . ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me'” (John 14:6 NASB).

And so I ask: What greater example of unconditional love is there?

After that day in my neighborhood park, I never again saw Cole. But I won’t forget him. He is the child in all of us who dares to question; the curiosity in us who seeks the unseen.

I see a freeing spectrum of colors arched in the sky. It is an indescribable magnificence of light refracted through water vapor suspended in the air. And so I fix my eyes on the One who makes rainbows. I see the God who loves you and the God who loves me regardless of our colors and genders.

And when I still my heart, I behold a place prepared for us.

A place . . . beyond rainbows.

“Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:1-3 NASB).

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