Friday, 20 November 2015

Rain or rainbow...or maybe both

Not for the first time, I found myself trudging round a field early with my dog, praying for a ray of inspiration for this blog post. In general I have plenty to say on a variety of subjects, and can even at times be opinionated (allegedly.) Once in a while I also post on my own blog. So why do I find it so hard to think of something to say here that might enlighten, interest, inspire, amuse? Some kind of crisis of confidence is involved, I suspect: along the lines of 'What can I possibly have to say that anyone will want to read?'

The same applies to my works of fiction, perhaps not all the time, but on a depressingly regular basis. It's not that I think they are bad (though I'm sure they could be better) or that I've had no plaudits at all. It's more a sense of being out of joint with the times, in some way disconnected. Can anyone relate to this feeling?

This morning the grass was dry, the breeze brisk, with ragged vari-coloured clouds being bowled along a sky which sported one or two blue patches.  But louring in the east was a heavy grey rain-cloud, and for a brief moment I caught a broken, insubstantial rainbow.  I turned away only for a couple of seconds, and it was gone. I can't help remembering God's promise whenever I see a rainbow: 'As a sign of this everlasting covenant...I am putting my bow in the clouds.' Genesis 9 v 13.
That led me to think about God's promises in general, and one in particular, which I hunted out when I got home. Here it is, Isaiah 55 vv 10-11: 'As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the is my word that goes from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.' Yet again I have had to be reminded that when I work according to the gifting and equipping that God provides, it is about his purposes, and proceeds according to his plan. My purposes are too narrow, my plan too self-regarding, and I am terminally impatient. I know this of old, but still on occasions complain that it's all very well casting one's bread upon the waters, but why is the tide out for so long?

My photo of a rainbow is not a very good one: it was taken from a moving car on a motorway in Majorca, where we had gone for an early spring holiday only to have snow for the first time in forty years! But perhaps it's more appropriate than the glorious technicolour images taken by others that I could have chosen. It may be blurred, lopsided, faulty - but the rainbow still bears the same weight of promise. And that little snippet from Isaiah is followed by another, most amazing promise, with trees and hills and mountains singing for joy. It's time - again - to take a deep breath and battle on.

Sue writes as S.L.Russell and has four novels in the usual places: a trilogy (Leviathan with a Fish-hook, The Monster Behemoth and The Land of Nimrod) and a stand-alone A Shed in a Cucumber Field. A fifth, An Iron Yoke, in a similar genre - realistic British Christian fiction - is in the pipeline.
Sue lives in Kent with her husband, currently one adult daughter, and Rosie the dog, and sometimes at her crumbling pile in France. She is an amateur singer and a church organist, blogs at and has a web site


  1. Great post and a great reminder that we need to cling to God's promises. Thank you for reminding me that God is in control and works in this time

  2. My reaction to rainbows is the same as yours, Sue. And if there is the chance that the weather conditions here might be producing one, I check from every possible window! Sue

  3. Thank you. I'm at the deep breath and battling on stage. It's good to know I'm not alone!

  4. I like the way you relate ragged rainbows to ragged life and yet still see God's promises in both. Great post. I am really enjoying A Shed... and look forward to reading your current WIP.