“Dad, look!” My son was staring out the back window of the car to the south-south-west.
“I can’t, son, I’m driving.” I replied, an irritated, annoyed, weary, worrying, distracted parent with sensory overload. But for some reason, I pulled into a nearby parking lot, and turned the car around so I could see what had caught his attention. I beheld the most incredible rainbow I’ve ever seen in my life.
The sky hung like a canvas of pure, unpretentious blue; not the color of blue that makes you say, “wow, blue.” Just blue, like water is wet, or like lambs wool is soft. The scattered cirrus clouds did nothing to hide the sun of this gorgeous day from our vantage point.
The rainbow itself infused a long, barely arching row of fragile clouds that stood up like grass. The clouds themselves refracted the light, so that behind the clouds, against the sky, no rainbow could be seen. An artist’s delicately brilliant colors painted the featherlike clouds. It looked strikingly like an aurora.
I immediately ached that I did not have a camera. This would have been one incredible shot! While silently castigating myself for not keeping a camera in the car, I happened to wonder about my fellow man. Of all the thousands of us who were geographically situated so that we could have seen this rainbow, how many of us actually did? When the sun comes out after the rain, we rush outside to see if there is a rainbow. But this rainbow occurred on a beautiful, sunny, dry day.
I realize now that God is not like me. I would have taken my picture, blown it up, framed it, and would have hung it prominently in my home. You’d have thought I had created that rainbow myself. But not God. He put up this incredible display of beauty, and doesn’t mind in the slightest that most of us never happened to see it. He doesn’t herd us into a theatre, dim the lights and raise the curtain on His incredible displays of beauty. He just puts them out there, like a friendly smile across a crowded room. If He happens to catch your eye, He just winks. That’s it.
That got me thinking how wasteful He is. He really goes to great lengths to show off His generosity. But that’s how you make someone feel loved. When we love someone, we must, from time to time, stop being efficient. We put aside our schedules, our time-savers and our conveniences, and waste some time. The Apostle Paul, in describing God’s love for us repeatedly used terms like “exceedingly abundantly.” If the quantity of something is “exceedingly abundant,” then you’ve got too much. That means leftovers that don’t get used. It means waste.
As if on cue, the clouds began to dissolve, and the rainbow slowly faded, starting from the western end to the east. God had winked, and nodded, and now moved on, no doubt painting, singing or whispering to some other few children. How inefficient!