when you’re in desperate need for God to come through — #tellhisstory

May 17, 2016 | 33 comments

I can’t share all the details, out of respect for some dear folks, but an awful thing happened in our community recently. It happened on a sad and dreary day, the kind where the rain feels like bullets dropping from a gun-metal gray sky.

In the midst of the tragedy, a friend of mine kept praying for a rainbow. She’s not the kind of person to call down signs from God, but she really needed a rainbow because the day was really, really hard.

And so that’s what I prayed for — a rainbow, a sign of God’s promise.

But to tell you the truth? I was not hopeful. I knew that the conditions must be just right for a rainbow to happen. The sun must be in one part of the sky, and the rain falling in another. But there was no sun, only gray skies and driving rain for miles, with no signs of relenting.

And really, what would the rainbow do? It wouldn’t reverse the tragedy. 

But I prayed anyway, with my tiny mustard seed of faith. I prayed because my friend needed a rainbow, and if it was important to her, it was important to me.

That night, at about 8 p.m., it happened:

The answer to our prayer.

The unlikely rainbow.

A holy visitation.


The skies had unexpectedly broken open, producing the most stunning rainbow I’ve seen. I immediately texted my friend, fingers shaking. Look, I wrote, your rainbow has come!

Here’s what that rainbow is teaching me.

1 – There is no prayer too small for God. If it matters to you, it matters to Him.

2 – When I can’t see God’s hand, I can still trust his heart. He has not left us alone down here. His fingerprints are evident all around us, even in the midst of tragedy. His presence is proof that He deeply cares. His presence might not change our circumstances, but it can change us.

3 – God gives us immeasurably more than we asked for. If you look closely, you’ll see that God didn’t send a single rainbow. He sent a double.

4 – Even in the darkest storms, God is always present and always good. God might not always show up with a rainbow, but we can trust that His promises will have the last word.

Maybe you needed to know that today, too.

Your storm doesn’t have the last word.

Cancer doesn’t have the last word.

The betrayal doesn’t have the last word.

Your mistakes don’t have the last word.

The grave doesn’t have the last word.

Jesus alone has the last word: “It is finished.” And his last words, are the beginning of something new for all of us.

When we are in the midst of a storm, it can feel like God has given up on us. But while we are waiting, God is still working.

So often lately, I have found myself uttering these four words: “I don’t understand this.”

I uttered those words during the recent tragedy in our community. I’ve uttered those words while entering yet another hospital room with my Dad, or while talking with doctors about our youngest daughter’s chronic health issues. Sometimes, I’ve spoken those words to Jesus when praying for friends who are going through tough financial times, job loss, marital conflict, and more.

So many of those trials remain unresolved, and I want to cry out, “I don’t understand this!”

In times when I simply don’t understand, I remember these words from Jesus. “You don’t understand what I’m doing now, but someday you will” (John 13:7).

jesus, don't understand

Jesus spoke those words at the Last Supper, on the night he was betrayed.

His words are a comfort to me in times when I cry out, “I don’t understand this!”

Jesus’ words remind me that even when I can’t see His hand, I can still trust His heart.

Someday it will all make sense. Maybe we will have to wait all the way until Heaven to truly understand. But we WILL understand. That’s the promise of our Savior. And His promises are always, always good.


Rainbow photo by Jen Sandbulte. Used with permission.


Hey Tell His Story crew! It is a joy to gather here every week with you. The linkup goes live each Tuesday at 4 p.m. (CT). If you would use the badge on your blog, found here, that would be great! And if you would visit at least one other blogger in the link-up and encourage them with a comment, that would be beautiful! Be sure to check the sidebar later. I’ll be featuring one of you over there! Our featured writer this week is Kaitlyn Bouchillon. Writing can be hard work, and so I appreciated Kaitlyn’s perspective on sitting in the silence and writing only the words He gives. Find Kaitlyn here.

About Kaitlyn: Kaitlyn is a terrific writer, and the author of the book Even if Not. She is also my virtual assistant, and she helps me create a lot of the beautiful graphics you see here. Kaitlyn also helps me manage other affairs in this growing ministry. I am so grateful for her!

To be considered as our featured writer, be sure to use our badge or a link to my blog from your post. 🙂 xo Jennifer

by | May 17, 2016 | 33 comments


  1. Anna Smit

    Jennifer, this is so beautiful, so encouraging. Thank you for this encouragement that no prayer is too small for our God. I’m so sorry for the tragedy that your friends and community are facing and for the hard you and your family are walking. I’m still praying for your Dad.

    Yes, some day we will be able to see and fully understand. A wonderful truth to hold onto. He makes all things beautiful in His Time.

  2. Christine Duncan

    “…Jesus alone has the last word…” am going to pocket that truth to take with me through the rest of my week, because it’s SO good. I love that we serve a Creator who is in the details, back in Genesis, and He is today! He is faithful in every need! Thank you, Jennifer!

  3. Bev @ Walking Well With God

    “His last words are the beginning of something new for all of us.” Amen!! Trust Love’s heart…so many times I’ve had to hold onto that when I simply don’t understand. He calls me to trust in Him and not in my own understanding…learning to believe that no matter how it seems…God’s got this. Wonderful words here today Jennifer!

  4. Doris2

    Absolutely needed this one today! Thanks!

  5. Richella Parham

    I can scarcely believe my eyes. That photo of the double rainbow is absolutely astonishing!

    Every now and then I get a reminder that God cares about even the smallest things. A friend of mine calls these “winks” from God. I like that–I think of a wink as a little reminder that there’s something special between us.

    I’m sorry for the tragedy in your community, but I’m grateful to you for sharing what you learned in the midst of it. And I’m grateful for the chance to join your party today; thank you so much for hosting and for reminding us that we are, indeed, telling His story. Bless you!

  6. Jen

    Such a Kairos word! What we see is not the end of the story! Love the double rainbow and His promise, giving you even more than you could ask, think, or imagine, just when you needed it most! Holding onto this word today, Jennifer! Thank you!

  7. Trudy Den Hoed

    Wow! Even a double rainbow! And both complete! So awesome! Thank you for sharing this, Jennifer. You have lifted my heart by reminding me nothing is impossible with God. Also that even if we can’t see His hand, we can still trust His heart. I’m sorry about the tragedy, also about your daughter’s chronic health issues. May God give you strength and peace for each day! Hugs!

  8. PleasingtothePotter

    “When I can’t see God’s hand, I can still trust His heart”. Amen Jennifer! What a beautiful reminder that God is with us during the darkest hours. Such an encouragement to read these words today. I believe that is why Proverbs 3:5-6 is one my life verses. I have to trust with all my heart and not just what I see around me. We may never understand until we reach heaven but God loves us so we trust Him in everything. Thank you for sharing this post and the amazing picture of the rainbow. Have a wonderful week and blessings to you and yours!

  9. Michele Morin

    Wise words about sadness and the hidden face of God. There’s so much growth that happens in the waiting. Thanks for sharing this beautiful story.

  10. Anita

    Thank you so much for your story and the rainbow picture. God always shows up just when we need it–after all, he is the God of green hope. May he continue to work in the midst of your community’s tragedy and in the lives of all who read your beautiful post.

  11. Martha Orlando

    Oh, that rainbow! Oh, His promise! His love is unfailing and immeasurable.
    Thank you for reminding us here, Jennifer, that even our smallest prayers mean everything to our awesome God.
    My heart goes out to you and your community in light of the recent tragedy you have suffered. May the Healer set you free.

  12. Carly

    The rainbow is a beautiful reminder of God’s promises and that he has the final word and can speak hope even in to tragic situations. Also love the reminder that even when we don’t understand what God is doing we can hold to the truth if who he is. “When I can’t see God’s hand, I can still trust his heart.”

  13. Brittany Griffin

    So very thankful for His promises! Rainbows are my “thing”, too. He has so graciously done this very thing for me, too. He is able to do more than we ask or imagine. One day I will share about the double rainbow that brought me to my knees and changed my life. Praying for all and God bless.

  14. Cheryl Smith

    Oh, Jennifer! This is just beautiful! Such confirmation of God’s presence, of His promise, and of His peace. I am so thankful that He is such a faithful God, and my heart truly goes out to the dear ones who suffered through this ordeal. God is our refuge and strength…a VERY present help in time of trouble. May He send them and your community and you the healing you all need in the aftermath of this tragedy.

  15. Tiffany

    Oh – His goodness truly leaves me in awe. He always shows up, even when we don’t see Him.

  16. Deborah Will

    What a rainbow! Thanks for sharing Jennifer and thanks for this party every week.

  17. Lori Schumaker

    Jennifer I cannot tell you how much this touched my heart. So much hope. Maybe it’s because so many rainbows have been needed in the lives of those I love recently. Maybe it’s because God has drenched my heart in a message of hope and I stepped out to begin a link-up where the hope of Christ would flood a space every week called Moments of Hope. For whichever reason, this post was like a great big hug! I treasure your heart and your words that flow from Jesus!

  18. Elizabeth Giertz

    Yes! Such great encouragment to remember that not matter what we are going through He is right there beside us and at work on our behalf for our good. Even when we don’t understand. xo

  19. Leah Adams

    Thank you for the reminder. I’m praying fervently for a friend’s marriage. You have reminded me to keep praying and believing.

  20. Susan

    WOW! Your friend didn’t get “just any rainbow” – that one looks like God’s Magnum Opus!!!! It just proves, once again, our good, good Father isn’t just “enough” – He is More Than Enough! Amen! Glory to God!

  21. Karrilee Aggett

    Oh friend… just all the yes and amens here! He is so good! Praying for you and your family today… remembering the lessons He is teaching you through the rainbow!

  22. Rebecca

    Oh how beautiful a reminder for all of us today! God is God of the little and the big. And He always knows what’s happening. I am so grateful that you prayed in faith. Such a concrete example of the ways God loves.

  23. Nancy Ruegg

    A cynic might observe: “OK, so you got an impressive rainbow. That doesn’t reverse the tragedy.” I would say the rainbow is a sign of precious promises we can count on because they’ve come to pass in countless lives through the ages: 1) God’s glorious presence offers the strength and encouragement we need in times of trouble. He will see us through. 2) Just as God is in control of where and when rainbows appear, he is in control of our lives, our circumstances. How comforting to know an all-wise God is in charge. 3) A glorious and astounding rainbow such as this one reminds us of our glorious, astounding God–a God who performs miracles. They may not be the ones we think are best (a reversal of tragedy). They will be even BETTER, because God only does what’s BEST. Thank you, Jennifer, for this powerful story, reminding us we can trust this kind of God–even in the darkest storms.

  24. June

    Amen, Jennifer! Holding onto the Hope we have in Him . . . ’till the end.

  25. Joy Lenton

    A truly uplifting read and a brilliant reminder of God’s constant care over every little detail of our lives! I’m taking these words as ones to ponder on this week: “when I can’t see His hand, I can still trust His heart.” Amen! Jennifer, thank you for all that you do here to bring such beautiful hope and encouragement to us. I love how when life gets hard, you cling harder still to God and His word. It inspires me to do the same. May you know the double rainbow promises He brings as a living reality for you and your family in the tough days ahead. Blessings, love and prayers. Xx

  26. Gayl Wright

    Yes, God’s promises are true and He will bring them to pass. I love your rainbow story. I was having a difficult day sometime last year. As it neared evening I went out on the front porch and the first thing I saw was a rainbow! It was like God was telling me He knew all about my troubles and had not forgotten His promises to be with us. Blessings!

  27. Lux @ About Life and Love

    I love the message of the rainbow. It’s so full of promises. So appropriate that God created it in different colors. So much to love. 🙂

  28. Meg Bucher

    Awesome story, and wonderful reminder that our great God is bigger…
    Happy Wednesday!

  29. Pam Ecrement

    Such good words of encouragement on so many levels! Thanks, Jennifer!

  30. Dolly @ Soulstops.com

    Yes! Thanks for sharing, Jennifer 🙂 God is so gracious and good even when we don’t understand.

  31. Katie Bells

    This brought much needed tears to my eyes.

  32. Lyli Dunbar

    I smiled from ear to ear when I read this a few days ago, Jennifer. We have a very similar “rainbow story” at the Dunbar house, and reading yours was like a big Amen. His mercy is new every morning. What a blessing! xo



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