Rainbows for Rainy Days: 40 devotional readings that reveal God’s promises by Catherine Campbell
Holding onto the promises of God amidst a broken world full of pain and suffering is not an easy task. Yet, these devotional readings, entitled Rainbows for Rainy Days, written by Catherine Campbell are a treasure house full of wisdom for the weary traveler on the journey through the Christian life. Taking a Scripture, providing a short meditation alongside a beautiful photograph, these devotional readings bring to life the ways in which God pursues his people from beginning to end. I found myself throughout the book saying out loud, “Yes, that is true, Amen to that!” I would like to point out some reasons why this devotional is so valuable for those following Christ.
1. Details of the Story
Catherine takes great pains to draw us into the story of the Bible, including those aspects of the narrative that bring together God’s character and our response. In the first devotional based upon God’s covenantal dealings with Noah, Catherine writes, “Only the God who made him loved him enough to put a visible sign of the promise of His divine presence into the very thing that frightened Noah most: the cloud” (11)! I had not thought of the way the cloud figured into Noah’s memory before. Yet, Catherine brings to the surface the constant reminder that for Noah the cloud was no longer to be a sign of judgment and devastation, but a sign of God’s radiating presence. What was so enjoyable about reading these devotional readings was the way Catherine turns the Scriptures over and over like a farmer turns his dirt over to find the details that bring us face to face with what God is doing in the midst of his people.
Not only are the details of the Scriptural text part of the wisdom in these readings, but also the way in which Catherine brings together theology and practice. On devotional 33 concerning our adoption as sons and daughters of God, Catherine writes, “The Father will give you a new name, companionship for your loneliness, peace for your pain, an identity in the family of God, hope for the future, and an inheritance with His Son” (79). Finding our identity in Christ is a prominent theme in Paul’s writings, even one of the most rehearsed themes in the New Testament. Yet, this theme has to be connected to our present reality if it is to make sense to believers. Catherine hints at the emotional and spiritual comfort we draw from our adoption as providing a solace that will last for all time. Our adoption into God’s family is not a freedom from pain and suffering but a stronghold in the midst of those sufferings. Therefore, we can find a way out of the pain we face, a hope that will surely come to pass, and a Father who will never leave or abuse us. The strength of pulling together theological truth and practical application is that the believer is left with solid points of wisdom for their daily life that is able to transform their lives. In other words, what we believe should always be reflected in how we live.
Encouragement for the Best and Worst of Life
I found Catherine’s writing on the devotional 30 to be very insightful in relating the impact of broken heartedness and God’s presence. After chronicling the effect of broken hearted people, she pushes her readers to further meditate on Psalm 34:18. She writes, “Why not reach out and share your heart with the One who will never break it? And He will not only heal it, He will give you the strength to live, love, and trust again” (73). Feeling the weight of rejection often causes us to distance ourselves from God, those around us, and the activities that used to bring us great joy. Yet, God is able to understand our rejection and provide a way to heal it. This truth is a great encouragement to those who feel that all hope is gone and that life is not worth living. I would also add that Catherine points out that God is the one who is able to heal our pain and broken hearts, and not medicating on various addicting habits.
This collection of devotional readings was a balm to my soul. With great wisdom and attention to detail, Catherine carries her readers through God’s Word to encourage and strengthen their lives. I would also add that some of the readings are quite challenging and caused me to rethink the way I previously thought about the Christian life.
Thanks to Kregel Publications for the complimentary copy of this book in exchange for review.