O Joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
And feel the promise is not vain,
That morn shall tearless be.
George Matheson suffered poor eyesight from birth, and at age 15 learned that he was going blind. After graduating from the University of Glasgow at age 19, he began theological studies, and it was while pursuing those that he became totally blind.
Besides dealing with blindness, Matheson encountered a heartbreaking experience. His fiancé broke her engagement to him. She explained that she couldn't see herself going through life married to a blind man.
Yet through it all, Matheson experienced the call of joy. Joy that broke through his pain. He was willing to trace rainbows in spite of the rain pelting his heart.
3 Ways to Trace Rainbows
1. Become friends with joyful people
There are people who drag us down, and others who lift us up. I’ve found that when I spend time with joyful people, my own heart is lifted. The pain is still there, but the beauty of the rainbow is within my grasp.
Years ago, we traveled with a college quartet. Landing one night at the Bloom sisters’ residence, we felt our weariness eased by their attitude of joy. When they showed us to our room they pointed to a devotional book they wanted us to read. Page after page was underlined and dated. Joy leaped from the pages to our hearts. These godly ladies knew how to trace rainbows.
2. Trust Jesus
Babbie Mason wrote these poignant words:
God is too wise to be mistaken.
God is too good to be unkind.
So when you don't understand,
When you don't see His plan,
When you can't trace His hand,
Trust His heart.
Some things will never make sense. Cancer, deaths of young people, divorce, abuse – we cannot understand the “why” of them. Trust Jesus. Believe what He said, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). Never forget our Heavenly Father loves you. His tears mingle with ours. Trust that, in the daily pain, He will help you trace rainbows. You may not ever get over the heartache, but you can get through it. We have the hope of heaven when tears will be forever washed away.
3. Be Grateful
Rainbow tracing is easier when we are counting blessings – one by one. Be intentional; each day record a blessing. I’m not talking about “My friend paid off my car” blessings. No, the little things. A beautiful sunrise, encouragement from God’s Word, a friend’s phone call, a card in the mail – those blessings we often take for granted. Henry Ward Beecher said, “The unthankful heart...discovers no mercies; but let the thankful heart sweep through the day and, as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings!” As we practice gratitude, the hues of the rainbow become more vivid.
We all have pain. You have yours. I have mine. The Sunday morning after we held our sweet Sarah’s funeral, my husband sat on the organ bench, desperately trying to think of a song to play for the offertory. These words crept into his heart as tears rained down his face: O Joy, that seekest me through pain; I rest my weary soul in thee. At times it seems like joy will no longer visit your heart, yet as you seek fellowship with joyful people, when you trust Jesus, and count your blessings, your eyes will trace the rainbow arched above your heart.