By Jennifer McAlister

I just got back from a quick four-day business trip with my husband. While sitting at the airport, I reflected on what I learned while spending a few days in beautiful Montana. I’m writing it down so I will always remember that the best is yet to come.

When we arrived on Monday, it was raining. I looked at the weather forecast and it called for the rain to continue until Wednesday – ugh. Since two of the four days of this trip were travel days, this wasn’t making me happy. I had plans, outdoor plans, and rain wasn’t welcome in my forecast! We were scheduled to go on a guided nature walk on Tuesday afternoon and if the sky continued to cry, it wasn’t going to happen.

One thing I’ve learned over the years (the hard way of course) is not to worry about things that I can’t change. Every time I choose to worry (and worry is a choice) the only thing that changes is me – and not for the better.  So instead of whining about the weather I chose to praise God for the rain and for the opportunity to be able to visit such a beautiful place, rain or shine. The weather didn’t instantly clear up but my attitude sure did – praise is a powerful force.

The rain continued throughout the morning on Tuesday but by that afternoon the sun made a glorious appearance and chased the rain away! We were able to go on our nature walk and were greeted by wildlife that we may not have encountered (to include a moose with her calf) that came out of hiding after the rain stopped. Our nature walk was a success and now we were on our way to the next planned activity. As we were driving, I looked up and saw the biggest, boldest, most beautiful rainbow I’ve ever seen. They call Montana, Big Sky Country, and for good reason, it was needed to showcase this enormous rainbow. I was giddy with joy at being able to witness this masterpiece in the sky and thought it couldn’t get any better, but it did. Some clouds moved and above the rainbow was another arch of color, a double rainbow!

The weather didn’t instantly clear up but my attitude sure did – praise is a powerful force.

Rainbows happen when sunlight and rain combine. We get to see the rainbow when the sun breaks through the rain clouds. Earlier I complained about the “crying sky” but had it not been for these tears from Heaven, I wouldn’t have had the pleasure to see such beauty and experience such joy. Rainbows come after the rain, never before!

Jesus understands very well that walking through this life will produce many tears (read Isaiah 53:3) which is why he gives us His word and His promises to cling to. One of those promises reminds us that those who sow in tears shall reap with tears of joy (Psalm 126:5). Eternal joy will be ours in abundance because of the tears we shed. The rainbow needs sunlight and rain to combine before it’s true beauty shines through. Like the rainbow, our joy will be complete because we have experienced the tension of opposites – joy and pain.

Yes,  weeping may last for the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5).

We all need hope to cope, which is what rainbows represent, that the best is yet to come.