A Personal Reminder and a Lesson in Trust
At the beginning of August, I found myself in Northeastern Italy. I had just come from a conference and took the opportunity of being in the north to visit a few friends.
Just before my trip, I had a meeting with some local friends here in Sicily about my visa. I was in need of changing sponsoring organizations and we were discussing the possibility of my friend’s church becoming my new sponsor. But nothing was decided before I left on my trip. I needed to know soon though, before I had to reapply for my “permission to stay” card which expired at the end of September.
After picking up a rental car in Treviso, my first stop was the town of Belluno. Between the fun and sporty little 500 Fiat I was driving and the gorgeous scenery, I thoroughly enjoyed the drive, even despite the occasional rain showers.
I arrived at my friend’s house in the late afternoon. After a tour of her cute place and establishing a plan for dinner, I found myself on her couch in the living room, about to catch up on some messages, while she began prepping dinner.
That’s when I looked up.
My friend’s apartment is such that she has balconies on both sides of the building. With lots of windows and doors, the place is very bright and airy and affords some beautiful views of the surrounding mountains.
But in this particular moment, it wasn’t the mountains that caught my eye.
Here’s what I saw…
I just happened to be sitting in the right room, with the curtains wide open, facing the right direction and at just the right moment
…or moments, as the case may be…
something (or Someone?) caused me to look outside.
I ran out to the balcony and immediately called my friend to join me, thinking, like most rainbows I’ve seen, it wouldn’t last for long. But to our surprise and delight, this full, double rainbow lasted over 10 minutes! Maybe even 15!
Between commenting on how beautiful and bright and full it was, we continued to circle back to how remarkable it was that it lasted as long as it did.
It was truly breathtaking.
Thinking back on this now, this sounds selfish to say, but…
as soon as I saw the rainbow, I remember thinking that it was specifically for me.
I don’t think I realized until that moment how anxious I had become over the past months about finding a new visa sponsor. I think I fluctuated a lot. Some days and weeks I had been much more confident than others that things would fall into place, and in time to submit my renewal application in the fall.
It was like the Lord knew I needed a big dose of reassurance to not worry and to keep trusting Him, that He would do as He promised.
But I think part of my problem was I had forgotten what the promise was.
Back in the summer of 2004, I was in Bologna on a mission’s trip when the Lord spoke to my heart and told me He would bring me back to Italy someday, long-term. Though it would be 9 years until I would move to Italy, I was certain all the while I would return, just as He said.
After arriving here three years ago however, I unwittingly grew a bit insecure about whether or not He would follow through in keeping me here. At least, until I saw the rainbow.
Standing on the balcony, taking in the rainbow’s mystical and fragile beauty, the Lord reminded me of what He had spoken to my heart all those years ago.
He hadn’t spoken in an audible voice back in 2004, but every time I’ve put to words what my heart felt Him say, I’ve always used the expression, “long-term”.
“I will bring you back to Italy some day to do ministry here long-term.”
While I am well aware that our understanding of time is very different from God’s, I just can’t seem to find a sound argument to support the idea that three years might be considered long-term.
There on the balcony in Belluno, I didn’t need to know in that moment how He would make a way, I just needed the reminder that He was faithful and would accomplish all that He said He would do.
My confidence doesn’t rest on words that were spoken, nor the timing or mode in which I received them. Nor because they were accompanied by flashes of lightening and bolts of thunder (they weren’t in any case!)… my renewed confidence comes from remembering the character of Him who made the promise.
He doesn’t lie.
Nor can He.
He is all-powerful and nothing and no one can stop Him from doing as He pleases. If He says something will take place, I have no grounds on which to doubt Him.
When I look at the photos I took of the rainbow, I just keep thinking how present and personal God is. There I was in a small town on the opposite side of the country, having just arrived and in a place I had never been before and He shows up as if to remind me:
He sees me,
is with me always,
and is always and forever… faithful.
How has God reminded you of His faithfulness?