Light’s Promise

God said, ‘ This is the sign of the covenant which I am making between Me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all successive generations; I set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between Me and the earth. It shall come about, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow will be seen in the cloud, and I will remember my covenant, which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh, and never again shall the water become a flood to destroy all flesh.'”Genesis 9:12-15.

I don’t know a person who doesn’t get at least a temporary thrill from the sight of a rainbow.

Interesting that it takes only two simple elements to produce one of nature’s most amazing phenomena.

Light and water.

God is the very Light Himself. It first takes God to produce a rainbow. The rainbow, a creation of the Great Creator himself, is His promise depicted in the scripture above. It’s God’s everlasting promise, for God does not break his promises.

Yes, He is the very Light Himself.

In Randy Alcorn‘s great book, “Heaven,” he gives us several scriptural depictions of what Heaven just might be like. Because of God’s presence in Heaven, and because he is the very Light Himself, there is an everlasting Light in Heaven. No darkness, no nighttime, no dark clouds. Pure Light manifested from the Face of God.

Secondly, it takes water to produce a rainbow. There is cleansing power in the water.

So we can be assured the rainbow is God’s very Light and an intimately pure promise that will never be broken.

We marvel at rainbows. They are pure beauty. Ever think about how many colors are in a rainbow? Remember from first grade – ROYGBIV (red, orange, yellow, green, indigo and violet). Pure beauty.

I count seven colors there. And the biblical significance of seven?

Completeness. A job well done. A finished work. God took seven days to create the heavens and the earth, and at end, Creation was perfect.

And so it is with God’s promise manifested in the Light and the cleansing water.

God’s promise is for you and me and every living creature … and it is perfect.

NO

It’s been four weeks now since dad passed away.

It was on a Thursday. The Sunday before he died was a milestone moment in my life I may never forget.

Dad lived a hard life – drank, swore, mismanaged money. In other words, he wasn’t perfect. Because he set the standard so high for himself, he never saw himself of worthy of God‘s unrelenting grace and prodigal love.

That Sunday morning, the doctor told him flat out, he wasn’t going to get better.  They could pump oxygen into his lungs all day long, but they had lived their life. The lungs would no longer move the air and move the ogygen into his blood stream.

“You mean this is the way the rest of my life is going to be? he asked.

“We don’t know how long,” the doctor said.

I think it was at that moment Dad knew the only person who could help him was Jesus.

Many of us who cared about him had tried to impose salvation on him over the years. I now know salvation is not imposed. It is received. And it can be received only when God the Father draws you to Him and you say “yes.”

That day, Daddy said “yes,” and he wanted to be baptized as a public profession of his newfound faith.

Dad never really went to church and as  good fortune would have it, the pastor of a local church attended by some of my family members had befriended dad in the hospital paying him almost daily visits in the next to last week before he died. Daddy liked the guy and he had good heartfelt conversations with him.

So upon Daddy’s request for baptism, they called the guy. There was an urgency in the call. Any breath could have been Dad’s last. Not that the baptism made his salvation any more secure. He just wanted to do it, and we wanted him to have it.

So the pastor showed up, was advised of my Dad’s request and the joy of our dad’s salvation took a disappointing turn.

A half dozen IV’s were hooked up to Daddy’s arms. He could hardly move. His breath was short — and unfortunately for him there wasn’t a river nearby.

The pastor believed baptism could only be conducted by full immersion, and the situation and facilities just didn’t allow that.

“So would you consider another alternative … sprinking, pouring of water?”

“No.”

That’s the only way he could conduct a baptism, he said. That’s what he believed.

Let me try to recap and sum this up in a paragraph.

A 71-year-old man who had lived like Hell up to this point in his life and whose last breath could come at any moment had just asked the God of all Creation to come into his life and he wanted to celebrate with his family with a baptism.

But the preacher said no. That was not the doctrine in which he believed.

I thought about Jesus. What would Jesus do?

On the Sabbath, Jesus told the man to pick up his mat and walk.

Later in His journey, Jesus told a woman who should have been stoned “to go and sin no more.”

Did Jesus care if every square inch of Dad’s skin was immersed, or if water was just poured over his head?

I’d like to think not.

Weeks later, I’m still shaking my head, trying hard to forgive, and to move on.