Some of you realize that I think about rainbows a lot. In fact, we will revisit one famous rainbow story in the near future. For now, I want to focus on a different one.
Last Friday, there were a lot of storms. Feeling a bit down, I prayed to see a rainbow. Well, rather than a rainbow, hopping in the car and starting the engine seemed instead to bring sleet.
I was at my client’s home for a while, and the subject turned to the weather. “You know,” he said, “about 9:00, I looked out this window and saw the most beautiful rainbow.” He proceeded to describe how it was a bright and full rainbow, 180 degrees and not just a little strip you commonly see in the sky.
I am ashamed to say I felt a bit of envy at that point. I repented of that, of course, and I continued on with my work.
It was very surprising when later that evening, I was reading about the ongoing UCG troubles that someone made the comment that they cannot wait until the storms of UCG settle down and they see a rainbow.
Looks like I wasn’t the only one looking for a rainbow that day.
I guess neither of us got to see our rainbow on that Friday.
The Sabbath came, and the sermonette was a slightly different look at the Fruits of the Spirit. I was thinking about the one called “longsuffering”, otherwise translated “patience”. Sometimes, we have to wait to see our rainbow. Sometimes, we miss the rainbow because we are not at the right place at the right time (some would call this “outside of God’s will”). Sometimes, the storms re-emerge and block any rainbows.
The sermon was another excellent message on commitment. Joseph was used as the main example. He remained committed to God and his family in spite of great trials that few of us can relate to. He did not desire to be sold into slavery, to be tempted by Potiphar’s wife, to be thrown into prison nor to be forgotten for two more years after the butler was freed. He could have become bitter instead of remaining faithful and committed.
Then, suddenly, he was thrust into the limelight. As great as his trials were, his reward was so much more.
Now, we might not get to see any of our reward in this life. Yet, it is important that we remain faithful, have patience and remain committed to God through all things.
What about UCG, though? This is not the first time God’s church or some part of it has been under turmoil. You want to know something? It won’t be the last time, either. My Bible says the whole Church will undergo such a time of stress that some will have to be protected. In fact, the whole world will be thrown into chaos and confusion unmatched by any other in human history.
You know, men have plans, good or bad, and devise schemes, good or bad, but they cannot circumvent the will of God.
9 In his heart a man plans his course,
but the LORD determines his steps.
~ Pr 16:9 (NIV)
In some respects, I’m surprised at the reactions that some, but by no means all, of the UCG members are having. Where was God in 1995? Did He not lift you up and take you to a new place in short order? If necessary, that can be done again. Some have related it to the 1995 experience. However, the comments seem to run more along the line of, “Waiting didn’t work then trying to work things out. The Tkach’s did what they did regardless.” I think the people who make these types of comments have forgotten that it was waiting upon God that brought them safely and almost simultaneously out of one place to another.
I have a friend who likes to say, “It’s like God just moved the Church.” God picked up those who were His and simply planted them in a different physical location. It all worked out.
For those who lived through that time in the church, have you forgotten that God can take care of His own? Israel grumbled in the wilderness, yet God fed and watered them. Many times, Israel wanted to take matters into their own hands, even threatening to stone Moses and Aaron! In any organization, we need to be careful that we aren’t guilty of lacking patience or faithfulness.
We all need to remain committed to God’s way of life, no matter what any church leader does, any pastor does or even any lay member does.
We need to keep an eye out for rainbows. But, don’t forget that rainbows normally only come after a storm.