I'm a daughter, granddaughter & niece of pastors. I love God & studying the Bible and want to empower others to do the same.
Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are healthy, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are unhealthy, your body also is full of darkness. -Luke 11:34, NIV
Black was my favorite color as a teen, not only because it's slimming to wear, but because I felt it was an “honest” color. I believed that life is dark, unhappy; it’s realistic to always expect the worst. My favorite movie at the time said “Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.”
I'd forgotten one of my favorite poets, Longfellow, who wrote: “Tell me not, in mournful numbers,/Life is but an empty dream!/For the soul is dead that slumbers,/And things are not what they seem.”
I also hated the color yellow. I felt that it was lying, fake, foolish. It reminded me of those obnoxious peppy people who would walk up to me and say, “Smile, be happy.” "Yeah ok." I snidely thought. "I’ll just do that. Let me find that switch to flip." And I would grimace, scowl, sneer back. Oh how I despised yellow. The color of vapid smiley face stickers and balloons. The color of obnoxious cars that boys who drove too fast were fond of scaring girls in, impregnating girls in, and worse. I hated the endless yellow Florida sunshine and oppressive heat, with no respite for most of the year. Fall bypassed us completely and often. Yellow was the color of bitter loss, of flowers called butter cups I used to pluck and raise to my chin as a child, a game with old friends, those who left me behind. Yellow was the color of the innocent-minded who still had hope for the world. Somewhere along the way I had lost mine. I believed yellow was the color of fake people, because isn't everyone who says they're happy or that they have joy just faking it? Didn't all people go home and hurt their families, with their words if not their actions, with their criticism and coldness, with their endless self-centeredness? And yellow was the one gift they deigned to give to make up for it all, the fake smile in a world of suffering. Wasn’t everyone selfish and just surviving life from pain to pain? I saw the world as darkness and only black fit it. I didn’t see or appreciate joy or happiness or know where it came from, not truly. But then, God...
Butterflies have 5 types of color-receptive cones in their eyes compared to our three: red, blue, green—which enable us to see the thousands (or millions?) of colors we see. The mantis shrimp has the most impressive number, 16! It can see ten times more colors than humans. They can even see ultraviolet and infrared light. Not only can they see UV light, but they can block it through use of something called MAAs, protecting their eyes from this dangerous, cancer-causing light. Why would God give the ability to see colors we can’t to an underwater creature, rather than us? I don’t have all the answers, but I have a few theories. 1. So that we could learn about it, eager and yearning but not yet having (like we do for heaven). 2. So we could be amazed at our Creator’s capabilities. 3. So it could remind us of certain truths, including 1 Cor. 2:9: "What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived—the things God has prepared for those who love him—”
As a young woman, I saw and embraced only black, only darkness, because I sought it with my mind, because I had believed some lies. And lies are as pitch black and empty as the darkness they come from. They drain the soul. But God is light, blinding in brightness, in beauty, in hope and joy. He is satisfying, full, radiant, as is life with Him. Thanking Him, changing our perspective, seeing circumstances with His eyes, His understanding, helps us see the light, the hope, to have joy, to rejoice in Him. God IS/God does/God gives, then we thank Him, and He fills our hearts with joy, our eyes with light. (Ps. 16:11, 21:6, Eph. 5:19-20, Is. 65:18).
Egyptians were the first to see the color blue, to have blue-colored dyes, and to name it as such. To name it was to truly see it, to pay attention to it. In the Odyssey, Homer describes the sea as “wine-dark.” But wine is red, and the sea is blue. Without the name, it is hard to make sense of a thing. Children ask hundreds of questions around a certain age, because to name a thing is to better understand it, and to recognize it. Many (not all) women “see” more colors than some (not all) men (mostly due to fashion—colors of clothes and makeup) because we more often learn the names of the subtle shades of colors. Many can tell the differences between kelly green and hunter green, avocado and emerald, pickle and pear, olive, lime, seafoam, mint, sage, chartreuse. While to some, green is just green.
Perhaps because the ancients didn’t have a name for blue, they couldn’t see it properly, some have postulated. Perhaps because I didn’t understand how people could have hope or joy, I rejected the possibility that it was real. I called it a lie. I called yellow a fake. Until God showed me how good He actually is. He taught me to see the good, that ALL He does is good and for good, and suddenly one morning I saw, really saw, appreciated the beautiful, warm, yellow sun. I saw the way sunflowers turn to each other for light when the sky is dark. I saw the fields covered in yellow wildflowers where children played in delight. I saw leaves glowing and waving down to me from their trees. I finally saw a welcoming, warm, comforting color, and people who were the same, and genuinely joyous. I saw beauty, I saw joy, I saw hope does really exist. I named these things as real; I chose to believe them. I appreciated the truth of their (hope, joy) existence, and I started accepting the Bible’s truth, and God’s promises, even when I didn’t see evidence yet. I saw how yellow and God’s love and pursuit of us is relentless, especially in hope. I began to appreciate yellow—delicate, pale, buttercup yellow. The color of hope. The color of stars. A star, like the one that hung in the heavens above a manger, above a promise, above the Hope of the world.
I’m thankful for yellow, the color of stars, sun, sunflowers, bees, my niece’s hair, the mane of a lion, the Lion of Judah who has triumphed.
I’m thankful for blue, the color of skies and seas, like those Jesus calmed, those He walked across, the Living Water.
I’m thankful for green, the color of leaves in spring and summer, of melons, pastures, and grass, like the place where a crowd of over 5,000 sat and were fed 5 loaves and 2 fish.
I’m thankful for grey, the color of sparrows who do not fall to the ground without the Father’s consent, grey the crown of hair of the wise and privileged who live long upon the earth.
I’m thankful for brown, the color of tree trunks, of a wooden cross on which my Savior hung, the color of bread, like the Bread of Life, broken for me.
I’m thankful for black, the contrast of white, the in-between the stars, the color of ravens who fed Elijah in the wilderness.
I’m thankful for white, the color of light and the hottest fire, of ice and snow, and my sins in the Father’s eyes, now that I’ve been washed clean by His Son.
I’m thankful for gold, one of the first gifts laid at the feet of the Messiah, the color of the crown upon His head now, and His throne from which He reigns, more brilliant than Solomon’s.
I’m thankful for silver, how He purifies and refines us like it til we reflect His face, and especially for the thirty pieces of it for which He was sold, the price of a slave, the price of a Savior.
I’m thankful for red, the color of water that became wine, the blood of the covenant at the Last Supper, the blood that dripped down a broken body, onto nails, onto a cross, onto my sins.
I’m thankful for purple, the color of tent curtains in the Tabernacle, on the ephod of the priest, of the robe that was placed on Jesus when He was mocked, and the color of the robe He wears now in His throne room, large enough to fill the Temple entirely.
I wonder what gifts, what hope, what joys we miss out on because we can’t wrap our minds around them, or refuse to accept them, feeling them impossible, or ourselves unworthy (God chose and appointed you to bear fruit-John 15:16). I wonder what better colors await us in heaven, where we will be perfect, pure, untainted by any measure of sin in a place that also is. I am looking to see all the color in this life, learning to appreciate it and thank God for it, for all the beauty and hope and joy that exist relentlessly even in darkness, like a lamp or a star that will never go out. But also, I with eagerness long for the greater beauty of heaven, when my eyes will be made perfect, with who knows how many more rods and cones and colors, and to “see Christ as He is” (1 John 3:2). Then, I, we, will truly see all.
For more verses about color and light and seeing, read 1 John 1:1-4, John 9, Matt. 4:16, 1 John 3:2.
© 2020 Amanda Lorenzo
Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on December 11, 2020:
Nicely brought out. My take is grey. Something between black and white. Good analysis. Thanks.