I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. (Genesis 9:13)
We often think of God as perfect and when we are at our worst, we also think that God values perfection more than anything else. Whenever we feel that we are inadequate or unworthy to measure up to God’s standards, we fall prey to this thought.
But the story of Noah is about God’s frustration with the imperfections of the world and God’s ultimate commitment to restraint. While God may want the world to be better than it is, the rainbow in the story of Noah’s ark is about God’s commitment to something even more important than perfection. In the end, God promises to love the world in spite of its imperfections.
This means that the issue is no longer, “Am I perfect” or “Do I measure up?” In some ways, the implied answers to these questions are clear. No you are not perfect. No, you do not measure up. If the world was predicated on the perfect performance from any of us, then we are all in trouble.
But the message is that God’s desire and commitment to love is greater than God’s frustration that our world is less than perfect. The rainbow is a reminder that no matter how you feel about yourself and no matter how frustrated even God may be with you, you remain loveable. The rainbow in the sky is not just a platitude, it is a reminder that God loves you – no matter how you may feel about yourself. And it is a reminder that God loves others as well – no matter how you feel about them, too.
That, in the end, is good news for all of us