Reach the Isles
Rainbows, Gold, Leprechauns and Gods
I was recently back in the mainland (Ireland) visiting family when Storm Ciara and Dennis decided to show up to help Ireland live up to its wet and windy reputation. This meant a whole bunch of rainbows and that set me a-thinking.
The old tale is that there is gold at the end of the rainbow, and if you’re lucky, a wee leprechaun for an insta selfie, before you try to take his treasure from him. All you have to do is get to the end of the rainbow and collect. Of course, none of us believe that, right? It’s a story we tell. We know it’s a myth, a bit of ancient folklore.
However, I’m convinced that we are all chasing the end of rainbows looking for gold, only to be disappointed each and every time. There’s an old adage given as a blessing; “may all your dreams come true, but one”. It sounds nice at first, the idea is that you die still pursuing something. But if you think about it a little deeper, doesn’t it show us just how empty our dreams are? I mean, it's essentially saying that, if all your dreams did come true, you would have nothing to live for.
Back to rainbows. We are all chasing something. We are all on hot pursuit. Like trying to get to the end of a rainbow to find gold, we are pursuing our fabricated dreams and ambitions trying to find fulfilment, satisfaction, identity, rest, belonging and security. But remember, there is no gold at the end of the rainbow.
The sad reality is, once we get the thing we thought would complete us, we realise that it didn’t give us what we thought it would give us. Often the response is to simply begin the chase again once we spot another rainbow.
Each person’s rainbow and gold is different. For some it’s marriage, for others it’s having children. For some it’s a career, for others it’s a certain amount of money. For some it’s a location, for others it’s an experience. For some it’s a possession, for others it’s a body image.
A number of years back, actor Jim Carrie spoke right into all of this; “I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that its not the answer”. Jim had chased the rainbows for gold and found none.
The mournful cry of fulfilled dreams is this; there is no gold here.
The Psalmist speaks into all of this too. Psalm 16v11; “in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand there are pleasures forevermore.” If we truly were created by God, then seeking from limited creation what we can only receive from the unlimited Creator is absolutely ludicrous. But we are all bent toward sin and foolishness.
You see, dear reader, whether you are a Christian or not, we are all looking for the right things; identity, rest, meaning and belonging. The problem is not what we are looking for, but where we are looking.
One more passage to wrap it up, Jeremiah 2v13. The Israelites had forsaken God, the Fountain of Living Water and had crafted out for themselves, instead, their own cisterns. That’s bad enough; they replaced a fountain for a cistern. But worse, the cisterns they made were broken and couldn’t even hold water anyway; they were licking the dust with parched tongues.
So what’s wrong here in this verse? Is it what they were looking for? No - they were looking for water. The problem is where they were looking.
Dear Christian, you will never find your identity, meaning or belonging outside of your Father and Saviour.
Dear non Christian, you will never find your identity, meaning or belonging outside of your Creator and God.
The answer for both is the same; stop pursuing the myth of rainbow gold and turn to the true treasure of knowing God in Christ.
Alan Campbell is from Belfast, Northern Ireland. He came to Christ as a young adult and trained for ministry at Bethesda Free Church, Sunderland. Alan ministered in Bethesda as the Associate Pastor until 2019 and now ministers at Union Chapel, Bath. From time to time he teaches at North Cotes (NTM/Ethnos 360) College and The Theological College of North Staffordshire. Alan travels across the UK, Ireland, Europe and the States speaking at universities and equipping churches and campus ministries to share the gospel in a post-modern context. He is passionate about helping the believer to root their identity more and more into the person and work of Jesus Christ. Alan is married to Victoria.