Promise of a Rainbow


Finding God’s love in a storm

BLUFFTON, Ohio—Enduring hardships is made easier when we search for rainbows, Jane Thorley Roeschley suggested as a minister in residence at Bluffton University April 10.

Speaking at a campus chapel service, Roeschley, an associate pastor at the Mennonite Church of Normal, Ill., referenced the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. But another significant part of the story came before the resurrection, the Bluffton alumna said, noting that before Jesus performed the miracle, he gave thanks to God.

Roeschley related the passage to the significance of the rainbow in Genesis. “A rainbow was promised to be a sign of God’s care,” she said.

For Roeschley, a significant part of a rainbow is when it appears. “A rainbow does not appear in a clear blue sky. We only see the rainbow from the vantage point of a storm,” she said. Learning to find rainbows—signs of God’s care for which we can give thanks—is a spiritual practice that deepens trust in God’s care, she told the chapel audience.

Like Jesus did before the raising of Lazarus, she said Christians should find something to be thankful for each day, and give thanks to God for it. By doing this, she added, we can realize that a stormy period does not indicate an absence of God’s care.

In a time of immense difficulty, Roeschley said, she believes that giving thanks to God and seeking out a rainbow helps sustain us. “Being grateful in the midst of life’s realities is a way to endure hardships.”

Roeschley graduated from Bluffton in 1977 with a degree in home economics education. She juggled the roles of teacher and mother for many years, until one day she felt called to change careers. After attending seminary, she joined the staff at the Normal church in 2000.

But ties to Bluffton have continued for her and her husband, Mark, a 1975 graduate. All three of their children also attended the university, with daughters Anna and Leah graduating in 2007 and 2011, respectively, and son Ben following suit next month.

“I’ve been a Bluffton mom for 11 consecutive years,” Jane said. While the Roeschleys let their children decide where to go to college, they didn’t hesitate to put in a good word for their alma mater. “We’re thrilled that they ended up at Bluffton,” she said.

Pointing out that Bluffton helped form the foundation of her future ministry, she considers herself an ardent supporter of the university’s mission and its affiliation with Mennonite Church USA. “It’s at Bluffton that I discovered I believed in the biblical peace tradition,” she said.


Chay Reigle, public relations office