Marveling at the Promise

rainbow - photo by PIXNIO

This story is inspired by Genesis 9:8–15, the first reading for the First Sunday of Lent.

“Dad, we’ve got to unpack the ark.”

“I know, son. But first I really must savor a moment thanking God a little longer. Sit down with me.”

“But Dad, I’m worried about the animals.”

“Shem, stop fretting. They’ve been fine for 40 days and 40 nights; a few more minutes won’t hurt. Look with me at that rainbow in the sky, and study its colors. Now, close your eyes, and tell me if you can name the colors in the exact order you saw them. If you can’t, open your eyes and really look at that rainbow. I mean really look at it.”

Shem shook his head. “I don’t know if I can do that while I’ve got work to do.”

Noah thought for a moment. “In years to come, I tell you, whenever you see a rainbow, I want you to remember this day and the unbreakable relationship our family has with the Creator of all. That rainbow is a sign. It’s a reminder.”

Noah sighed deeply, clearly allowing himself to enjoy the bright sunlight warming his skin. His nostrils filled with the sweet scent of damp air. “Today our God is demonstrating a strong connection to us. Now that we’ve come out of the water, I can almost hear God saying, ‘You are my beloved.’ Shem, this is a precious moment to praise, and we shouldn’t rush past it.”

At that moment, Noah’s wife joined them. She sat at her husband’s side, leaned on his shoulder, and spoke softly. “Just look at that rainbow! Do you see how different it looks from the one we saw yesterday? It arches a little wider and a little higher. If you tip your head and look at it upside down, you can imagine that God is smiling at us! Do you think that God could smile in colors?”

“Of course,” Noah replied, chuckling. “God can do anything. He just rescued us from a world-changing disaster while, oh, so many have died. Yet God is looking down on all of us—all creatures and the earth itself—and pronouncing it very good.”

Noah’s wife nodded. “As the waters recede below us, I feel as if I’ve been born again—as if I had died and gotten up again. Miraculous.”

“Dad, honestly, I think we ought to get to our important work,” Shem insisted.

“Son, we will always have valuable work to do. But spending time marveling at what God has made and how God has spared us from unspeakable harm is an important daily task. Please, take a moment. I know we’ll see plenty of rainbows in the future, but we can’t take for granted the promise they signify of God redeeming us.”

Noah continued, “Your children’s children’s children will also face forces compelling them to make decisions for good or ill. Please take time for the rainbow. God promises never again to destroy all living creatures, and this covenant is made not only with us but with all living beings, and even the earth itself.”

Shem finally sat down next to Noah and marveled at a promise bigger than the horizon.

Photo by PIXNIO.

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Loretta Pehanich is a Catholic freelance writer and the author of 2022: A Book of Grace-Filled Days, Women in Conversation: Stand Up!, and Fleeting Moments: Praying When You Are Too Busy. A spiritual director since 2012, Loretta is trained in giving the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. Her involvement in ministry and parish life includes 20 years in small faith-sharing groups and Christian Life Community. Loretta gives retreats and presentations on prayer and women’s spirituality and is commissioned as an extraordinary minister of the Eucharist. She and her husband Steve have four children and 10 grandchildren.


  1. Loretta you have a wonderful gift. Thank you for recognizing it, accepting it, nurturing it and most of all for sharing it. Praise God.

  2. What a beautiful and amazing God we have, Loretta. I could just imagine how one day in our province at a bayside where i set facing a beautiful sunset meditating the sitting sun together asked him this question; “Lord, how could i fish people to believe in you, i’m worried if they won’t listen to my preaching?” and He answered, “don’t worry, I will let the fishes gather to listen to you.”

    Thank you very much Loretta.

  3. Thanks Loretta for your beautiful reflection on the rainbow. It reminded me of a rainbow I saw38 years ago. My mother had died four months earlier. I was on the way to visit my father in the hospital. I was thinking I can’t make any more decisions regarding his care. Suddenly I saw this beautiful rainbow over the Verrazano Bridge and I thought the rainbow comes after the storm. My dad died peacefully two days later. This inspiration has helped me to navigate other difficult moments.

  4. I love this. What a timely reminder that we will ALWAYS have work to do but we also must take time out to praise God and marvel at His creation – and His continuing connection to us. I so often behave like Shem. I need to remember to take the time to behave like Noah.

    • We marvel at creation, which continues in the new lives who will be born this spring.
      May we savor pregnancies during Covid, when young moms are in “arks” in their homes.

  5. Such a beautiful imaginative write-up of the family of Noah while in the ark. The Greatness and awesomeness of God Almighty is clearly demonstrated in the works of His creation. It gives me joy as I recall Psalms 19:1-6. Indeed, God is, and can be found in all things – If only we can relax, savour the moment and experience God in the wonders of his creations! Thank you Loretta for this… and God bless you.

    • God bless you, too, Clement, and thank you for taking the time to comment. The heavens do indeed declare the glory of God! And all of creation is dancing for joy.

  6. I love this so much. It reminds me that I feel God’s presence most when I am outdoors in His beautiful creation. I love the idea of God smiling in colors. Such a wonderful concept.

    • I took a walk this morning, and marveled at the blue skies that I barely see while glued to my computer. What a grace it is to be able to walk ! Plus to be outside.


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