Even in the midst of all my prayers, I'd worked myself into an anxiety attack by the time I was driving to her house. The rain and lightning only added to my unease. "Don't be anxious about anything... pray about everything," I reminded myself over and over. But my chest was tight, and I could feel my heart racing.
As the darkness lifted and the rain slowed to an occasional splatter, I looked to my left at a most peculiar sunset. The sky was split in two: on the left was a wall of black clouds, and on the right were the muted colors of the sunset, though the sun was not visible. It looked like God was pulling back a curtain and giving me a glimpse of His beauty.
"Thank you," I whispered, taking in a few deep, calming breaths. And then I looked to my right and saw a rainbow--right in the middle of all the dark clouds! It was magnificent, so bright against the dark canvas.It was only half a bow, but the tallest I'd ever seen.
|A Different Rainbow... But Similar|
I kept watching the rainbow all the way to Laura's house. Just before I arrived, it transformed into something I'd never seen before. On the left side was the rainbow, still only half a bow and almost completely vertical. To the right extended a triangle of golden, orange light. I wondered where that light could be coming from since the surrounding clouds were still almost black. I concluded that it must have been a reflection off the sunset on the opposite horizon.
It's like a pennant, a banner, I thought. Immediately a verse went through my mind: "His banner over me is love." (Song of Solomon 2:4) And then I realized that, from my perspective, that banner was unfurled over Laura's house! When I glanced at the clock and saw 8:11 a thrill passed through me. (You may recall that 11 is her special number, that she finds comfort somehow in 11s.)
Climbing out of the car into the light rain, I realized that my anxiety had completely evaporated. In its place was an excitement to share this experience with Laura. Like me, she sees signs everywhere, and I knew this would encourage her.
Ray led me up the stairs to her room, where her parents, aunts, sister, and cousin had gathered around her bed. I glanced at the people, mostly strangers, and then shut them all out of my mind as I wrapped my arms around Laura and delivered my message.
I described the rainbow and the banner of light. I heard her sharp intake of breath when I mentioned seeing the 11. "It's like there's a banner of God's love right over your house," I concluded. "Laura, He loves you so much."
She thanked me for telling her the story. "I can see it, just as you described," she said. "I needed to hear that."
|Recent Picture of Laura|
And then we all laid a hand on her and prayed together, over the sound of the heavy rain that now beat against the roof. I thanked God for the assurance of his love right in the middle of this storm. And I prayed Psalm 23 over her. Even though that is not one of the passages I have committed to memory, the words just flowed off my tongue. "We thank you that you are Laura's shepherd. She shall not want for anything.... Even in the valley of the shadow of death, she will fear no evil, for you are with her.... You anoint Laura's head with oil. Her cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow her all the days of her life, and she will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."
When we said amen, I looked around and found that many of us were crying. But they were happy tears. I wish I could describe the way it felt, the way God's love was palpable in that room, binding us all together. I watched as her aunts and cousin took their leave, holding her close and whispering encouraging words that I couldn't understand because I don't speak Spanish.
"I don't know what you were saying," I told her cousin, "but I could understand the love you have for her. It's beautiful."
I'm so thankful God gave me this gift. It's like He pulled back the curtain and let us all glimpse his beauty for a moment.
Please continue to pray for Laura and her family. I know that with God, all things are possible. I pray that she overflows with hope through the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)