I Saw Black and Blue

Stephanie Gottschalk



Confusion, chaos, and cantankerous debates exploded over a picture captioned with a simple question that should have a simple, objective answer. "What color is this dress?"

Some people saw blue and black, some people saw white and gold and some people saw it change back and forth in front of their eyes.  This was one of the fastest-spreading topics in the grandiose history of the Internet and social media as people became entirely obsessed and unhinged. 

The thought that we cannot always trust our eyes and our own perception is unnerving and scary for us.  We say that we know something to be true when we 'see it to believe it.'  'I saw it with my own two eyes' is one of the firmest statements of certainty a person can give and having a witness see the same thing is proof that we are right and trustworthy. 

But then the dress! Something as simple as a picture of a dress makes us realize that our experiences of the world may not be as objective and reliable as we'd like to think they are.  The answer to the question was found by asking the now very famous dressmakers (it's blue and black.) The answer to how or why some people didn't see the dress as blue and black ended up being differences in people's eyes and how they perceive certain colors of light.  Some people see blue light better and for others the blue light cancels out the color blue (or something like that.)  People were looking at the same thing but with different eyes. 

In mission, a similar phenomenon is common. A VIM team goes into a situation, local or global, with a certain point of view that comes from their own realities and trusting in themselves. And for many team members, as they grow in their faith through serving others, their picture of poverty, of church, of Jesus, or even of themselves changes right before their very eyes. They rely less on what they see on the surface with their eyes conditioned by their own experience and begin to rely more on "the eyes of their heart" (Eph 1:18.)  When they return after serving, their own lives, jobs, home, church, and community look different. They are looking at the same thing, but with different eyes.

These 'heart eyes' help us to see worth where before we saw problems, opportunity where before we saw desolation, and hope where before we saw sorrow. In place of helpless victims there have now appeared hard-working survivors. Good deeds transform into godly purpose and gospel proclaiming. A uniformly similar church now looks vibrantly colorful and diverse. And situations that had nothing to do with us now seem intimately connected to how we make life choices or receive privileges. The light of Holy Spirit humbles us and inspires us with a new vision for what the future holds. 

What eyes have you been using lately? If you need a spiritual "I-adjustment," consider meditating on this prayer from the Apostle Paul ... 

I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, 18 so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power. 



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