I have had a stressful few weeks thanks to a major work project with significant deadlines.
Because of that, I’ve felt harried and rushed, which leads to feeling irritable and gloomy. Normally, irritable and gloomy can be remedied with time with God and prayer—and yet it’s hard to find time with God or to pray when you are harried and rushed! In an effort to combat this, I downloaded a different prayer app than normal: one that nudges you to pray at prescribed times, and offers a series of simple prayers.
I am usually a freewheeling-prayer sort of girl, talking to God aimlessly about whatever pops into my head, and I’ll never give that up. But I found that these calm, structured morning-and-night prayers were deeply helpful in the scrum of my harassed days: the gentle nudge to pray, morning and night, felt like sitting down to a cup of tea and taking a long breath.
Because the prayers are accompanied with Psalms, I end up reading a Psalm each day. I posted about one aspect of Psalm 74 already this week, but here’s another:
Yours is the day, yours also the night;
you have established the heavenly lights and the sun.
1You have fixed all the boundaries of the earth;
you have made summer and winter.
I loved that verse when I read it for reasons I’m still not sure I can articulate well. In a time when the world felt like it was spinning out of control, it was a reminder that it was still well in God’s hand; that there is nowhere He is not; that His presence suffuses my every experience, and is a part of every single day. It also reminded me that the world and God are so much bigger than my own struggles: that the days and the nights will always keep going, and soon these troubling ones will be out of view. It’s also a verse that the world itself testifies to the truth of: in my goings-out and comings-in, I can look at the sun or the moon and think, “This is Yours.”
But I didn’t expect that God would give me such a nice surprise to go along with that verse.
My husband and I took a walk recently after a day of rain and storms. It happened to be just before dusk, so I knew we’d be witness to a sunset. What I didn’t expect was that I’d step out the front door to see one rainbow, only to walk about a mile and see another. Nor did I expect, after that, to run into what I can only describe as a riot of glory: the moon, the setting sun, and a rainbow all in one place.
When I was very young, I had a necklace that I bought for myself on a trip to the beach. I loved the charm on the necklace because it was iridescent: turn it one way and it was green, another way blue, another way pink, another way violet. I loved the idea of so many gleaming colors in one place, melding and shifting into each other: it looked like magic.
That’s what the sky was like on that evening last week: magic, a bewitching combination of colors and elements that by all rights should never have been in one place at one time. The picture I took doesn’t really do justice to the wonder that it was. And seeing it felt like God saying, “Yes, the day is mine, and the night is mine, and I can combine all of these things as I please, when I please, and isn’t it beautiful?”
A rainbow is beautiful, all by itself. A good sunset? Stunning. And the moon hanging in the sky just after dusk? Lovely. To have all three at once is an abundance of joy—and yet, that’s exactly who God is. The God of rainbows, of moon and sun, and who sometimes delights in pulling out all three at once. The God who creates beauty and delights in giving it away.
It’s a good reason to smile – and a reminder that all of it is His.
Here’s the picture I snapped hastily on my phone of it: rainbow on the left, setting sun, and a moon on the right: