Elders Journal

In Living Color

  If you have ever been in a store to purchase paint for your latest remodeling project, you may have been, as I have, frustrated with the challenge of choosing a color from a chart with 30 different shades. Experience has shown me that every paint manufacturer has their own version of “off white” and it must be true by now that no one knows what pure white really is!  The same is true of all the other colors.  How many colors can the human mind conceive?
  Of course, you must be able to see color to have this perspective in our world.  No one knows why but we even choose favorite hues or shades of any particular color.  But, the whole relevancy of color is put into some degree of question when you witness a person, blind from birth,  go about their daily routine of things without the concept of red, blue, or yellow.
  From a scientific, maybe biological view, color has proven its value or necessity in the physical world.  Beyond that, a golden sunset has no merit for its beauty except to stimulate an emotional or spiritual response from us.  So, does that mean that a blind person’s perception of beauty is lacking? Time will hopefully brighten my understanding of that question!
  Have you ever wondered why God created us with an imagination, something animals don’t appear to have?    Our minds have the ability to create some wonderful or amazing images and it’s not unusual to awaken from a deep sleep and be perplexed with a dream you just had. Sometimes we enjoy sharing these experiences and, on a few occasions, I have even been asked if my dreams were ever in color.
Now, I have to really use my imagination for this one!  As I try to recall details from numerous dreams of the past, color hasn’t ever been of the slightest value in any of them. Even memories of the past seem to be not just black and white, but simply without color.  Does it matter to me that I may never understand this?   The colors that I see and love seem to be beautiful only in the present reality of my everyday world.
The beauty of a flower, the brilliance of a sunset or color spangled meadow, stimulates the lives of many people.  These are special things to us and the emotions are cherished as some of our sweetest memories. But, are we remembering the actual beauty of something or is it the emotional response we received?  It’s only when I recognize the existence of an all knowing God and Creator who loves me that I can deal with this question.  There must be a spiritual component to help me move beyond human wisdom.  
  Several years ago, the grim reality and degradation of sin was emphasized to me in a very pointed way.   On a windy and cold winter day I became aware of how dreary and dismal everything seemed.  As I looked into a nearby wooded area, the color of death was everywhere.  Or, maybe I should say, the absence of bright colors was proof that death had occurred!  It was depressing to me to see all the various shades of gray, brown, and black in this particular setting.  The dead leaves on the ground, the dead or dying limbs on the trees, and the bark on a scaly-bark hickory all seemed especially revealing.  What a contrast from spring and summer when green, red, blue, and every color in between, appears to cover all the death of the previous year.  And, each winter we are being reminded, “the wages of sin is death.”

  When I viewed this scene, the object lesson for me was clear.  However, few of us never stop to think about the Creator’s pain after observing these same scenes for millennia!  Our failure to see and acknowledge God in the simplest of things must sadden Him deeply.  The routines of life, for survival or pleasure, has caused most of us to pass by the way never noticing the rhythms or patterns put there by God to reveal His presence.  The beauty of color may draw our attention toward our Creator in a very marked way, revealing His love and creative ability.  How often, though, do we see that same love when we witness storms, floods, droughts, and especially the death of a loved one? Several people have told me how awe-struck they were when they saw the majesty and beauty of the Grand Canyon.  Others were captivated, not by beauty, but by the destructive power of receding flood waters and erosion.  Our perception of color or beauty must be somewhat tainted when everything we see has been flawed by the ravages of sin.  How limited we must be when even the jagged, snow covered peaks of mountains subdue and bring us peace.  What’s lacking in our understanding when sea waves crashing into our shores, stirs such intense, emotional feelings?  Its only from the perspective of eternity that I can deal with what seems at times to be perplexing contrasts.
  The Bible tells me that my eyes have not seen anything that is like what God has prepared, and I believe that!  Those same scriptures tell me that no one can explain anything to me that I can conceive or imagine which vaguely compares with God’s plan for us!  I believe that too!  This doesn’t mean that we can’t dream, or imagine, or even see beauty in the things of this world.  There are many reminders of God’s love all around us, but He would want us to realize the temporal nature of our stay here.  If we are the pilgrims we claim to be, the object lessons we see every day should only strengthen our resolve to continue our journey.
  The images given to us in the Bible concerning a new Heavens and Earth continue to increase my hope as time drifts on.  The desert terrain of the Grand Canyon blossoming into a plush garden would fulfill part of that desire.  Flowers that never die, decorating a gentle flowing tapestry of hills and forests with all the colors I can now never imagine, is part of God’s reward for His people.  New Jerusalem, the Holy City built by Jesus, is being constructed with metals and gems so pure, everything is transparent. My mind struggles with the image of a sea of glass around the throne of God, but my hope reveals to me that the light emitted by His presence will finally expose what real color is.  Beams of glory shining on and through God’s pure creation will finally define majesty for me.  The degradation of sin, and the death it brings, will no longer enter my vocabulary.  
There seems to be ample terminology to describe our emotions as we wait for the Lord’s return.  Anxious must be one of them, considering the” time of the end” we appear to be in.  Anticipation and joy are sure candidates to strengthen our resolve.  Hopefully, fear and depression have been eliminated long before now.
  As the months and years continue to bring new, and sometimes more intense challenges  for us, my prayer for our church family is that we daily renew the commission God gave to us.  Constant review of the hope that we have will always add nurture and stability to our walk with Him.  Sometimes our journey seems dismal and dark, but soon we will see Jesus with all of His splendor in “living color.”
                      God Bless You