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Editor's Note: We are a non-religious magazine. However, we acknowledge that spirituality is an important part for some. Our Faith column is a place for anyone to discuss how faith positively affects their mental health and how to improve the conversation around mental health within faith communities.
This summer has been particularly gray where I live in Ohio. The days have been overcast, and we’ve occasionally had severe storms–a tornado even hit us about a month ago. Mostly though, it’s rainy day after day, with no end in sight. Coincidentally, I’ve been walking through a very stormy season of depression lately. My weeks of summer classes were torturous, with my energy lasting enough to sit through four hours of lectures before it dissipated. Afternoons have been spent irritable and exhausted, while nights pass with loneliness and unbearable sadness. Hope seems far away.
I’d hoped to embrace this summer as a time of relaxation and warmth, but instead I’ve experienced it as a time of anxiety and despair.
It feels as though not only the cliché, dark clouds loom over my head, but I am being ravaged by gale-force winds and torrential downpours.
Yet some days, the sun has peaked its way out of the clouds, and there, in the cloudy sky has been a rainbow.
In Genesis, the Bible says God uses the rainbow as a reminder of His promise to us:
“I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh. And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on that earth.” (Genesis 9:15-16)
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The rainbow is a reminder that we will not be destroyed by the storms we face in our lives.
The waters will never again become so high and mighty that all of the earth is destroyed as it was, so many years ago.
I like to think that not only are rainbows a promise that literal storms will not destroy us, but they are also a promise God will not allow psychological storms to overtake us.
Our anxiety, addiction, depression, eating disorders, and self-harm will not destroy us.
That is what is promised to us.
What is especially encouraging about this promise, for me, is the context in which it was made. God sent the flood because of the wickedness occurring on the earth. The covenant He made was to never flood the earth again, even if this behavior occurs again.
A few months ago, I made what I thought was the biggest mistake of my life. I felt it was unforgivable and made me unlovable in God’s eyes. But then, I remembered the promise God made to us in Genesis. God will not punish me for my mistakes. He loves me. There is grace.
Rainbows give us hope.
Hope in God’s promises to us, and also hope that the storm will soon end. Rainbows most often appear after a storm has passed, and the rain has either stopped or slowed, signaling a respite in the storm.
Regardless of how bad your current storm may seem, it will come to an end. Your anxiety and depression will lessen. Your addictions and self-harm will lose their grip on your life. Your eating disorder voice will quiet. Your storm will end.
Look for your rainbow. Have hope. God will not let you be destroyed by the storm you are in.
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