His Banner Over Me Is Love
Tuesday, May 23 2017
I was dozing on and off – at least I was trying to. It was 4:30 on a Saturday afternoon, and I was holed up in my bedroom. The curtains were drawn closed, and I was in the dark. Everything was absolutely quiet around me. I had a cold wet cloth on my forehead. And I was trying to lie as still as I could.
Because I had a terrible migraine headache.
These migraine-days of mine are so miserable, and they are so hard to understand and accept. They seem such wasted days to me. I can’t be up and about doing anything, because all light and sound and movement worsen the pain. I can’t be in bed reading or studying, because my brain hurts too much to concentrate. And I can’t even be praying, because my head feels like a mixer has plowed through it, and I can’t put two thoughts together. So I just lie there, one side of my head throbbing, one eye feeling like it will fall out, every bone from my skull to my jaw aching, my stomach nauseated – and I wonder what “good” such a day affords to anyone. And I feel frustrated and angry at the seeming uselessness of each passing aching hour.
Sometime later that Saturday afternoon, through an opening in the curtains, I saw that the sun was shining brightly. And then I heard a sudden downpour of rain. So despite my misery, I got up to look outside.
And what I saw took my breath away: the most beautiful, the most perfect rainbow that I had ever seen, right outside my balcony! The sky was dark, the rain was coming down in sheets, but through a tiny break in the clouds the sun was shining, and I was blessed with a spectacular rainbow right in front of my eyes, brilliant and strong in its colors. It wasn’t in the mountains far away – it wasn’t even in the ravine a short distance away – it was right there, so close that I could almost touch it: an absolutely perfect arch starting at the trees on one side of my house and finishing in the trees on the other side.
I stood there spellbound for a few moments, sensing that the rainbow was there just for me alone, feeling like I was right under and inside it, covered and enveloped by God’s love and care and protection. I recalled God’s words to Noah many centuries ago: that a rainbow in the sky would be a sign to all following generations that God was remembering to never again destroy the world through a flood. But to me, that day, that perfect rainbow above and all around me spoke to me of God’s loving and kind eyes upon me even when I was feeling alone and miserable in my migraine-pain.
“His banner over me is love”, says the Song of Solomon, and that afternoon I felt the rainbow as His banner of love over me and over my life.
There are days when I ask myself: why do I, as a child of God, have to go through this (to me) useless pain? why, when I am longing to serve Him with all my time and strength, am I bed-ridden and able to do nothing at all?
But then, that day’s special rainbow reminded me that God does not love me for my usefulness or my busyness for Him. Just like the myriads of colorful fish in the deepest seas that no one in the world but He knows even exist, and only He delights in; just like the myriads of exquisite flowers on the highest mountains that no one in the world but He sees, and only He enjoys – so God knows me, sees me, and delights in me, even when no one else in all the world does or can. And just for me, right before my eyes, He displays a perfect rainbow in the sky, because He delights in me and wants me to delight in Him.
And that day’s rainbow reminded me that He is here, with me in my pain and frustration, and that His mere presence is enough, that His grace is sufficient, that His lovingkindness surrounds me, and that with Him nearby I am complete. I still have my migraine and I still have my questions, but He is here with me in them, and I needn’t be afraid – I can simply trust that all is and will be well.
Because His rainbow in the sky is a banner of eternal love and care over me.
- Conrad Grebel: The Radical Reformer (c.1498-1526)
- Heinrich Bullinger: The Majestic Beard of Zurich (1504-1575)
- Hellen Stirke: The Ordinary Virgin Mary (died 1543)
- Hans Gooseflesh: The Accidental Reformer (c.1400-1468)
- Ulrich Zwingli: The Swiss Giant (1484-1531)
- Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley: The British Candle (martyred in 1555)
- Guillaume Farel: The French Firebrand (1489-1565)
- Thomas Cranmer: The Gospel Lobbyist (1489-1556)
- Johannes Oecolampadius: The Monasterys Lost Houselamp (1482-1531)
- Marie Dentiere: The First Lady in France (c.1495-1561)
- Martin Bucer: The Protestant Melting Pot (1491-1551)
- William Tyndale: The Underground Translator (c.1494-1536)
- Thomas Becon: The Monday Morning Protestant (c.1512-1567)
- Peter Martyr Vermigli: The Phoenix of Florence (1499-1562)
- Menno Simons: The Fearless Pacifist (1496-1561)
- Wolfgang Capito: The Protestant Peacemaker (c.1478-1541)
- Wibrandis Rosenblatt: The Bride of the Reformation (1504-1564)
- Philip Melanchthon: The Gentle Lutheran (1497-1560)
- Girolamo Savonarola: The Florentine Forerunner (1452-1498)
- Jan Hus: The Goosefather (1369-1415)