A White Rainbow

I didn’t know such a thing existed until I saw it in the wild.

Even then, it was difficult to believe my eyes. It looked like a rainbow, but it was completely white. It even had a fainter, secondary rainbow beneath the full one. The picture above doesn’t do it justice.

I found it while walking with Zoey a few weeks ago in the open land behind our neighborhood. It confused me at first, wondering if it really was a rainbow. We were in the early morning mist not far from Mt. Boney. As I crested a hill, I saw it stretched across the grasslands—a pure white arc of reflected light. Startled, I tried to figure out what it was while it accompanied us on our walk for almost fifteen minutes. I even got close to one end, but it stayed just out of reach until it vanished.

I didn’t know if this was a natural phenomenon or if a divine moment was afoot, like the burning bush. The air was electric, my heart quivering in the exquisite beauty of this unique rainbow and the God behind it. But what was I seeing? Was it real? The moment was exhilarating, and while I looked for some glorious revelation beyond the rainbow, none came.

I could think of little else on my way home, where I searched the web to see if there was such a thing as a white rainbow. To my delight, I found there was. They are also called fogbows or ghost rainbows. They are rare, only forming when the sun is low, and the droplets in the mist are not large enough to split the sunlight into the tell-tale colors of the rainbow.

No one I’ve shared this with has ever seen or heard of a white rainbow, which made me feel less like I had missed something in my science classes. Knowing it was a natural-occurring event that others had observed did not rob my wonder. On several occasions, I have seen something so surprising it takes my breath away—a shooting star across a dark, alpine sky, the immensity of the Grand Canyon, the brilliant colors of fall in New England, or a little green iridescent fish swimming by my face mask in Hawaii. This was that kind of experience.

Seeing a pure white rainbow for the first time still makes my heart happy—the glory of God shining through a thin space in his Creation. He seemed particularly close at hand, though I know he was no more present there with it than the many other times I’ve walked those fields.

That’s what I love about this fantastic Creation we live in. There is a ton of pain in this broken world, yet now and then, we catch a glimpse of extraordinary beauty that harkens our hearts to a better day yet to come. You can never be sure what you might see on any given day that can turn your heart to him in a fresh way.

That I would come across a white rainbow at that time in that place, felt like God playing with me a little bit.

And I love it when God plays with me.

9 thoughts on “A White Rainbow”

  1. How precious! Just wanted to thank you for all that you share here. Blesses me immensely, I so appreciate it.

  2. Hi Wayne,
    I got a bit goosebumps reading this. Driving out of Toowoomba, Queensland (on the way to my fathers funeral in South Australia), yesterday morning 19th July, we were going though a patch of fog with the sun rising behind us when I saw the same white bow in the fog. It was as if we were driving through the arch. In some places we saw a double bow. I had never seen this before, or even heard of it.
    Then later that night my son (who was driving with us) read your blog above.
    I was amazed at the ‘coincidence’ of this. Considering the state of my heart over the days since my Dad’s death I found this most comforting and special that God put this sign of hope in the sky for us to see at this time and motivated you to share yours on the same day. 😀

    1. I’m sorry your loss, Ian, but I love how Father comforted you in this time. Quite a coincidence isn’t it? I’ve held that blog for a few weeks for reasons I could not explain, and yesterday just felt right. To think it was so well-timed for you and your day blesses me to know end.

  3. I saw my white rainbow many years ago when I really needed a sign from God of His assured love for me despite all the muddles and messes I had allowed to happen in my life.
    I am now 82 and facing the biggest challenge of my life, caring for my husband of 61 years who has vascular dementia.
    This morning, before I opened my emails, I was thanking God for being with me through so many trials and tribulations and remembering all the people who had been important to me through my journey since I heard the Gospel preached by Billy Graham almost 39 years ago to the day – you, Wayne, being one of the most influential.
    What a lovely gift to share a white rainbow with you. I, like you, have always treasured this beautiful experience and the Lord’s timing is, as ever, perfect!
    Thank you for being part of my adventure.

    1. I love hearing these stories, Susan. Thanks for sharing yours. I’m sorry for the season you’re going through with your husband. May the courage and comfort of Jesus be yours in these days. With much love and prayers…

      1. Hi Wayne (again),
        I can’t resist sharing this sequel to my post above…
        At the cemetery yesterday (24th July) where we committed Dad’s remains to the ground, the bow appeared in the sky again right at 9:00 as we we’re about to begin and it remained there for some time. It was mostly while but could detect a slight tinge of colour.
        The glory of God towering over a place of tears. I felt like God was saying He’s arrived here with me, safe and happy’

        1. What a gift, and on such a day! I love how he works to comfort our hearts with surprises of his presence. I’m glad you felt reassured in that moment and pray his comfort will continue in days ahead when you miss your dad most. Blessings and love to you and your family.

Comments are closed.