The Rainbow and Self-Care
A devotional by Chaplain Paul Anderson
“As long as the earth remains, there will be planting and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night.”– Genesis 8:22 (NLT)
Crises are what they are because they suddenly and sometimes imperceptibly rob us of our sense of self, autonomy, community and security. When the enemy is silent and invisible, it is feared all the more because there is no apparent defense against it. We are vulnerable and as we have seen with COVID-19 the enemy may be indiscriminate and merciless.
Yet in the midst of it all, one day I went outside and almost immediately my visage, countenance and perspective changed. Why? Because I saw the sky. It was limitless. The clouds were floating silently in their appointed courses, gathering moisture to deliver somewhere else as rain.
I looked at the trees and the grass and saw that they were becoming verdant and green. Birds were chirping and squirrels were darting across the yard and through the trees. It occurred to me then, that a pandemic can stop the world economy. Travel, commerce, community and church stopped and regrouped. However, the earth kept spinning on its axis, which made the clouds move. The orbit around the sun changed the season from Winter to Spring.
Then I remembered the rainbow and God’s promise that from now on and forever, there will be seed time and harvest. The cycle of cold and heat, Summer and Winter will persist and day will inexorably, follow night.
That blessed assurance of tomorrow comes with a divine guarantee that each sunrise will be accompanied by new mercies and compassion sufficient for the day, because God is faithful. Great is thy faithfulness. That faithfulness gives us hope.
My sense of hope and my identity and security in Christ were renewed when I went outside and looked up. If you are feeling the blues because of this current pandemic, the isolation borne of social distancing, and the incessant news, get up! Go outside! Look up at the sky and see the vastness. Look at the nature around you and be comforted that Our God is greater than COVID-19 and any other malady that we might meet.
Go outside and see if you don’t reconnect with your sense of hope, security, and purpose. I did, and several songs came to mind: “My Hope is Built on Nothing Less,” “I Know My Redeemer Lives,” “Because He Lives,” and “Blessed Assurance,” among others.
So, when you go outside in your yard, balcony or courtyard, look up! Look around!
Feel the air on your skin and perhaps be soothed by a breeze. Listen for the birds chirping and the sounds of your neighborhood. Listen for the whisper of God in your soul.
Does a song come to mind? If so, let it envelop you and wash through your psyche. You may begin to relax. Vital metrics may slow down and balance. Whatever your experience will be, I would like to hear about. Leave a comment below this blog post and let’s talk about what you heard and felt when in pursuit of self care, you went outside.
Chaplain Anderson served for 20 years as a U.S. Navy Chaplain. Over 26 years of active duty, he was promoted through the ranks from Seaman Apprentice (E2) to his final rank as Commander (O5) in the Chaplain’s Corps.
Prior to his Naval career, Chaplain Anderson pastored in the Allegheny East and Potomac Conferences of Seventh-day Adventists. His undergraduate preparation for ministry was completed at Washington Adventist University in Takoma Park, Md.
He has subsequently earned four graduate degrees: a Master of Divinity from Andrews University in Michigan, a Master of Education in Counseling and Personnel Services from the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland and a Masters of Sacred Theology in Religion and Culture from Boston University. His Doctor of Ministry degree was conferred by Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C.
Chaplain Anderson also completed four units of Clinical Pastoral Education at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He also holds certifications in Suicide Awareness and Prevention, Civil Mediation, Alternative Workplace Dispute Resolution, Temperament Analysis, Marriage Enrichment, Workforce Diversity, and is a certified Life Coach.