A Night with Maya Angelou
By Amanda Stravinsky
She talked about rainbows.
Maya Angelou, author, poet, playwright and activist, welcomed a packed Curb Event Center September 19 as audience members welcomed her with a standing ovation. She opened her discussion with a reference to Genesis 9:13, the part in the Bible where God sends Noah a rainbow, never to flood the earth again. She centered her talk on this natural sign. The rainbow signifies hope, promise and faith.
Angelou decided to go a little deeper with the rainbow. She encouraged all of us to find the rainbow in every situation we face. No matter how dark the clouds seem, God will always send a rainbow. Maybe it’s an encouraging word from a friend, family member or complete stranger. Maybe it’s a small need that is met. Maybe it’s simply waking up in the morning to a roof over your head and clothes in your closet. There’s always a rainbow in every situation.
A lot of times we’re a little like Peter (Matthew 14:28-31). When Jesus walked on water, Peter wanted to get out of the boat and meet Him. Jesus beckoned him and Peter scrambled out of the boat. He fixated his eyes on Jesus and began to walk on water. However, he began to look at the waves and feel the powerful gusts of wind. He took his eyes off Jesus and began to sink.
How many times do we do this?
Instead of looking at Jesus, instead of looking to God’s providing hand, we look at our problems swirling around us. Maybe we have financial problems or don’t exactly know what we’re supposed to do after Belmont. Maybe our problems are simply questions that stress us out because we don’t have any answers. As Christians, we need to stop looking at the winds and the waves, the problems and the unanswered (for now) questions and look to Jesus. We need to look at the rainbows God has given us. We need to count our blessings.
Angelou took it a step further.
Not only are we to focus on the rainbows in our lives and to the One who provides those rainbows, but we need to be a rainbow in someone else’s life.
Did you get that?
Be a rainbow in someone else’s life.
We are to encourage one another (2 Corinthians 13:11) and love one another. We are to dwell in peace as well as promote peace. We aren’t to judge others. That’s God’s job. We are called to love and to love unconditionally. No matter what others say or do we need to be a blessing to others.
Sometimes this is difficult to do. Sometimes we have so much “stuff” on our plate that being a rainbow for someone else just seems too exhausting. Sometimes we think we need encouragement first in order to encourage others.
However, when we begin to encourage others, when we begin to bless others, we are then blessed and encouraged. Let us fix our eyes on God, the Maker of the rainbows in our lives and let us become rainbows for others.