By: Pastor Jarren Rogers
“The Holy Spirit illuminates the minds of people, makes us yearn for God, and takes spiritual truth and makes it understandable to us.”
– Billy Graham
Look at a rainbow and what do you see? Well, if you have relatively normal vision you will see red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet. That seems pretty obvious, right?
The reason you see such a wide range of color is because you have three cones in your eyes that help you see color: a red one, a blue one, and a green one. It is by working together, that these three cones enable you to see all the colors of the rainbow.
But what about other animals? Think of a dog. When a dog looks at a rainbow, it doesn’t see what you see. Dogs only have two cones: a blue one and a green one. When a dog looks at the rainbow it only sees blue and green!
But what about the other end? If we have three cones that enable us to see a wide range of color, are there animals that have more cones than us? Are there animals that are able to see a wider range of color?
Yes! The butterfly has six cones! They would see colors that we don’t even have names for. It’s hard to imagine what a butterfly sees when they look at that same rainbow.
But there’s an animal that can see even more colors than the butterfly. Dogs have two cones, we have three, butterflies have six, but there’s another animal that has sixteen!
The mantis shrimp.
You’ve probably never even heard of it before. It’s an invertebrate creature that can grow around fifteen inches long. They sport a pair of powerful claws that are bent in front of them (like a praying mantis) that are perfect for close-range attack. Its body is an explosion of neon colors. Reds, greens, blues, and yellows, are striped and spotted along its length.
The funny thing about the mantis shrimp is that, even though it has sixteen cones, even though it sees an unfathomable amount of color, its mind isn’t able to make heads or tails of it.
In one study, scientists attempted to used colored lights to see if the shrimp were able to distinguish colors. On one side of the tank, they put up a yellow light next to food. On the other side was a blue light with no food in sight. The mantis shrimp began to associate yellow light with food and blue light with no food. Easy.
But then the hard part. The scientists began slowly shifting the blue light to green and then to yellow-green. Scientists were expecting the mantis shrimp to tell even minor differences between the colors.
Instead, the scientists found that mantis shrimp did the worst out of any animal tested. Even though the mantis shrimp has the “equipment” to see a wider range of colors than we can even imagine, their brains aren’t big enough to actually process it.
As I thought about this, I thought about how the tragedy of the mantis shrimp can relate to our interaction with God.
Our God “is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20). By the power of His Holy Spirit, God can use us to do amazing things. We can do the unimaginable. We can see things that we never thought possible. All we have to do is humble ourselves before Him and allow Him to fill our hearts and lives.
But so many times we, like the mantis shrimp, fail to let Him work. We fail to see the unimaginable because of pride or because we can’t step out of the way to let Him work.
Will you allow Him to do the unimaginable?