Senior meteorologist Brandon Vincent with the National Weather Service in Goodland was in just the right time at just the right time. He had lined up his camera and captured about 30 minutes of video of fog rolling in, which he then set about reducing to a six-second time-lapse for presentation.
But he got more than he anticipated in the process. According to Vincent: “My first thought was, ‘Oh, that’s cool … I don't think I've ever seen one of those before’.”
Fogbows, it seems, are much like rainbows. The major difference is that the colors aren't quite as vibrant because the water droplets that cause them are so much tinier than raindrops. For this reason, fogbows are almost white in color.
Apparently, viewing a fogbow is like seeing a rainbow with the sun behind you but looking into a bank of fog. And someone has to be in just the right place at just the right time because they usually form just as the fog is dissipating. When a fogbow appears at night, it is called a lunar fogbow.
I confess that I am somewhat envious of Mr. Vincent in that I have never seen a fogbow. It must be a pretty cool sight. But I have seen many, many rainbows in my life.
Rainbows have been adopted as political and cultural symbols by many organizations in the modern eras. But knowledge of them is as old as recorded history; and the truth is that they were imbued with other meaning long before that applied to them now.
In fact, rainbows are introduced in the very first book of the Bible – in Genesis, chapter 9, verses 8-17:
8Then God said to Noah and his sons with him, 9“Behold, I now establish My covenant with you and your descendants after you, 10and with every living creature that was with you—the birds, the livestock, and every beast of the earth—every living thing that came out of the ark. 11And I establish My covenant with you: Never again will all life be cut off by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.”
12And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between Me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: 13I have set My rainbow in the clouds, and it will be a sign of the covenant between Me and the earth.
14Whenever I form clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, 15I will remember My covenant between Me and you and every living creature of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. 16And whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of every kind that is on the earth.”
17So God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between Me and every creature on the earth.”
These days, of course, people see all sorts of meaning in rainbows. But for me, above all else, catching sight of a rainbow simply serves to remind me of Almighty God’s covenant of mercy. It reminds me that He is patient and longsuffering, in spite of my and every other human being’s shortcomings. And where would we be without His grace and mercy?!
Of course, rainbows also remind us that a storm is now over. Technically, to see a rainbow, one must have the storm beyond them with the sun shining behind them and onto the retreating storm (or rain cloud). Hence, rainbows serve to remind us, even as it did Noah of old, that whatever storm we have just endured has now passed.
Many a time in my life, I have endured storms. Sometimes, they have been physical. At other times psychological, emotional, relational, financial, professional, etc… But in every case, the storm eventually passed. And once it did, I was reminded of God’s grace in having sustained me through it all.
And that brings me back to fogbows. Many a time, metaphorically, I have been in the fog with regard to a given situation and/or decision. But in God’s timing, the fog has lifted and I have been seen my way forward. When this has happened, just as has been the case when I have endured the storms of life, I have so often been reminded that it was God Himself Who lifted the fog and showed me the way!
Perhaps I am not alone here. Perhaps you too can relate to God’s reassurance during and after a storm. Perhaps you can relate as well to God’s direction after the fog has lifted. If so, then join me and give praise to God the next time you see a rainbow. And if you ever do see a fogbow, remember that it too is surely a reminder from God about His tender mercies!