I remember when we were considering purchasing this home five years ago. I squealed when we toured the backyard, “Aww look! A swing set! This would be perfect for the kiddos!” A baby swing, an adult swing, a horse swing, a slide, and a little treehouse with a steering wheel — it was adorable.
I visualized Matt and I pushing our giggling babies in these swings. I imagined putting them on my lap as we’d slide. I dreamed of little voices screaming, “Higher, Mommy! Push me higher!”
But years passed and I enjoyed watching my nieces swing. I pushed my friends’ kids in the baby swing. I attempted putting Rudy (our dog) in the swing at one point. I watched fuzzy squirrels perch atop the set, gnawing away on corn cobs. Cardinals and robins would also perch on its limbs, chatting away. One day a deer wandered into the sandbox and took a nap in it.
Snow would settle on the seats in the winter. Leaves would collect at the bottom of the slide in the fall. Birds would take refuge under the canopy in the rain. Strong breezes would push the empty swings back and forth day after day, month after month, year after year.
I was an active observer of our swing set, not a participant. I watched others enjoy it, but I didn’t have that privilege.
For some time, I saw the swing set as a symbol of hope — as if leaving it in our backyard meant that it would someday be used. Alternatively, I thought if we took it down, that somehow we’d “jinx” ourselves. Neither beliefs were helpful, nor valid, for ultimately it was control and fear that I was making these decisions (and we all know how that leads us astray).
After years of contemplating what to do with it, the Lord placed it on our hearts to finally take it down.
“I Will Remember”
The day we took down the swing set was one of the most beautiful days we’d had that spring: a beautiful, sunny 70 degree day. The warm weather jumpstarted the spring cleaning bug in us, and Matt got to work with his tools. I took a couple whacks at the wooden boards with a hammer (which felt really therapeutic, by the way), but other than that, I sat on the patio with Rudy. I knew that tearing down this set would be something I’d later write about, and I wanted to document the process.
I took a few photos, but didn’t look at them until we came inside for dinner. When I scrolled back through the pics, I couldn’t believe what I saw.
A few of the photos displayed a colorful rainbow in the upper left corner — right over where the swing set was!
Beautiful, right? But do you know what rainbows symbolize in Scripture? The first we hear about rainbows is in Genesis, as God destroyed a disobedient earth with a worldwide flood. After the flood, He painted the sky with a rainbow, and made a promise to Noah and all creation:
And 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: 13 I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. 16 Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.” — Genesis 9:12-16 (emphasis mine)
There’s no wondering or struggling to interpret this meaning — the Lord Himself tells us (multiple times in a row, representing importance). A rainbow symbolizes a lasting covenant between His people and all creation — a promise and a reminder. When He sees it, He remembers.
Now, here’s what I love: The Lord doesn’t need a reminder of anything; He’s not forgetful. But in His loving closeness to His people, He makes the choice to assure His people that He sees us!
Could the Lord have completely wiped out the earth and humanity in the flood? Absolutely. But friend, He didn’t so that we would have an opportunity to see our sin, repent, know Him, and be saved. He’s given us a chance, a hope!
The rainbow from Genesis is so much more than a sign:
It represents the victory of grace over judgment.
It represents His patience with sinners.
It represents mercy after judgment.
It represents grace for all.
It represents peace with an undeserving world.
Does the Lord have any obligation to walk among us, remember us, care for us? Absolutely not! But He does — because He loves us. Doesn’t this just want to make you jump up and dance?!
Moving Forward in Victory
So, here we were, a bittersweet moment relating to the pain of childlessness — and the Lord cared enough to remind us who He is and what He says about us. He hasn’t forgotten our infertility or the pain we’ve endured. No, He remembers, He knows, He sees. We’re not abandoned or insignificant — we are His divine creation in whom He delights.
To my sisters suffering through infertility and miscarriage, may your moments of weakness and darkness allow you to see who the Lord is. Stand strong and courageous knowing that He desires for us to be victorious and renewed. In your pain, impatience, anger, and fear — remember that God will continually offer you healing, patience, grace, mercy, peace, and salvation — just like He did to creation after the flood.
A silly swing set will not change my or your destiny! Our all-powerful, mighty, miracle-working Lord has divine power over our infertility. He knows and He sees our hearts’ desires — because He created them in us. Hallelujah, how great is our God!
I brought this post out of my archives with a couple edits. Read the original post from 2016 here.
Cover image used with permission. Brandon Couch, Unsplash.com.