So God destroys the entire creation for the sake of man's wicked heart, and then the waters start to recede. The formless and void starts to divide once again between the heavens and the earth, an invisible barrier in place to separate the two. The clouds roll back, and the sun starts to shine; the moon and the stars dance in the night sky. Land starts to peek out from the depths of the water, and it's not new land; it's land that has been forever changed by what it's just gone through, but God has not started over with the dust. The land remembers, at first light, how to begin growing again, and it's not long before something green sticks its little head out from the mud and the muck and reaches heavenward, only to be plucked from its tender home by the curious dove, who then flies away for good. The animals that teem in the seas settle in the waters as they pool in their respective oceans, lakes, and streams, and the animals that crawl along the ground come out of the ark and begin, once again, to fill the earth.
And finally, after all is clear, man makes his entrance, as well.
From the very moment that the rains cease, the heavens and the earth take up the act of creation all over again, filling out from the void up, just as they had done the first time. And yet, God, in all His wisdom, is keenly aware that unless He does something new, He's inviting His creation back into the same old problems.
Enter the rainbow.
It's interesting that after all this destruction, all this darkness, all this wrath, the rainbow is the one new thing that God does. He doesn't start over on anything. He doesn't change His grand design. He doesn't sit around and painstakingly recreate everything He once made with a whisper. But He makes a rainbow.
What's amazing about the rainbow is that the rainbow is both everything and nothing. I'm not sure we can say this about anything else in all creation. It's everything because caught within its captivating rays is every possible color on the spectrum. Every hue, every tone, every shade, every gradient is caught within the rainbow's reflection; there is nothing you could make in all the world that wouldn't draw from its vibrant colors.
And yet, it is nothing at all. It is...light and magic. Mystery, if you prefer that word. There's no substance to the rainbow. You can't touch it. You can't catch it. You can't follow it to its end; it has no end. It has no beginning. It's a vapor. An illusion. A beautiful, incredible, amazing illusion. Absolutely everything contained and reflected in absolutely nothing.
If that doesn't make you stand in awe of God, I don't know what would. Our God, our amazing God, who holds all that is possible in all that isn't. Our God who draws the full spectrum out of the empty air. Our God...who takes the invisible and makes it shine before our very eyes. It's...beautiful.
And it's a promise. It's the promise that the God who did this once can do this again and again and again, that our God will always be making the possible out of the impossible, the full out of the empty, the visible out of the invisible. That our God will always, always do one new thing. Just one new thing in all creation, again and again and again.