Yellow is the Color of Hope

Yellow has never been my favorite color, but that’s changed, as Vincent Van Gogh taught me to see that yellow is the color of hope. 

Vincent grew up in a strict Christian home.  He studied for the ministry, but later moved away from God during a time of deep depression.  Bouts with depression marked much of his life. During his depressive periods, he painted pictures like this…








Yellow stars and the sun illuminate the blues and blacks because Vincent felt that God could only be found in nature.  Tragically, the church, which stands tall in the painting, which should be a place of hope, shows no trace of yellow.

Years later, Vincent returned to God, and began paining pictures like this…








The painting is bathed in brilliant yellow.  The person in the painting is Lazarus, having been raised from death.  The face on Lazarus is Van Gogh.

The picture tells a beautiful gospel truth that Van Gogh discovered: life with God can begin again.  With God there is always the promise of a new beginning, and when we open ourselves to this God, our lives become drenched in yellow hope.

I recently moved from the grey drizzle of Seattle to the sun drenched land of Northern California.  I wake up in the morning to sun streaming though windows.  I am astonished by the golden hue that lights up the fields at dusk.

After we bought our home, we began paining the walls.  What color did we choose?  Did we choose either blue or green, two of my favorites?  Nope.  We chose yellow.  I suppose we wanted to capture the light.  Now we have three different shades of yellow in three different rooms.  I walk from room to room and can’t escape yellow, which seems right.

The seasons of our life reflect many colors.  Sometimes life is blue for sadness.  Sometime red for anger.  Yellow–the third primary color–is the color for hope.  With God you can’t escape it any more than you can escape the yellow sun, unless you live in Seattle.

 May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in you.   Psalm 33:22


About chris breuninger

I love life, my family, and Jesus. I enjoy live music, rigorous exercise, thoughtful movies, and strong coffee. I study scripture, wine, and people. I get frustrated with narrow minds, Christian stereotypes, and gardening. My vocation is pastor, but I’m hesitant to admit that, and I’m happy when people are surprised by that.
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7 Responses to Yellow is the Color of Hope

  1. Love, love, love this, Chris. Thanks for sharing. We’re thinking of repainting part of our home, too. Hmmm, yellow is looking GOOD!

  2. Susan Lee says:

    David and I just returned from a trip to Europe where we were lucking enough to be standing in front several Van Gogh’s. Close enough to see the brush strokes !! They are amazing, his optimistic paintings. I literally was unable to speak while I was in that room. And praising God for such beauty.

  3. Victor Nalywaiko says:

    Love Yellow live in a yellow house

  4. craigefraser says:

    Thank you Chris,
    For one who has struggled on many levels and felt to be raised as Lazarus at times by only devine interventions, your comments were appreciated.
    As you have noticed my entry, stair well, landing and living room are all awash in yellow for a decade. Ah, maybe now I know why. Seen and unseen God carries us (me) towards his righteousness as he washes my past sin with love and forgiveness that I will never deserve or understand fully.
    Thank God for his grace that streams through the storm clouds in glorious yellow streams bathing me with hope in the darkness.

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