What Yellow Tape Means

Black and yellow tape creates an impenetrable barrier between those who are impacted and those who are curious. 

The words “Police Line Do Not Cross” or “Crime Scene” printed on flimsy tape hold back the masses.

Maybe it’s not the tape. 

Maybe it’s what lies behind the tape that holds us back. While we want to know what is behind the tape, most of us, maybe all of us never want to go beyond the tape.

We never want the tape to be put up around our lives or the lives of people we love.

The tape indicates mystery. 

The tape announces something outside of the normal.  Most of the time it means pain has happened, sometimes tragedy.  Unplanned.  Uninvited. Unenvied.  Yellow tape is never a sign of good news.

If you have ever been invited beyond the tape, you remember the feeling in the pit of your stomach as you faced the unknown, the unseen.  You recall the increase in your pulse as you prepared yourself to see and experience what you never had before—an accident or a crime scene, scoured by professionals who help us deal with crisis.

I’ve been invited beyond the tape before.  

The sights of broken people or bent metal always unnerve me; make me afraid.  I wonder what I might see or experience that will be seared into my memory or recur in my dreams. It’s never a pleasant or easy experience beyond the yellow tape.

And yet, nobody gets through life without a few yellow tape experiences, right? It is one thing to observe another’s yellow tape experiences and quite another to have the tape stretched around our own experiences.  Sometimes we see actual yellow tape but often times our yellow tape is something uninvited, tragic, unenviable.

Hospitals.  Hospice. Funeral homes. Banks. Accident Scenes.  Churches. Doctors’ and Lawyers’ offices. Homes. Past Hurts. Present hurts. Future hurts or fears. Relationships. 

All are potential “yellow tape” scenes.  

Some of the Bible verses don’t offer me a great deal of comfort.  Like when Jesus says, 

John 16:33 (NLT) 33  Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. 

Break out the Yellow Tape!  We are going to need it. This does nothing for the lump in my throat or that feeling in the pit of my stomach!  It’s fear.  Plain and simple.  Fear keeps me observing the Yellow Tape moments in others’ lives and fear is my companion inside my yellow tape moments.

This past Sunday I shared a one-sentence prayer I find myself uttering throughout the day. It’s a phrase that is building my courage as I contemplate or anticipate yellow tape experiences in my life and the lives of people I love.  It’s a phrase that’s reframing yellow tape experiences for me. 


See earth through Heaven’s lens.

I want to be that man.  I want it for you too.  But isn’t it more than a decision?  Maybe it’s supposed to be a posture more than a position?  Maybe our interactions with the yellow tape are where our posture is proven or improved.  Maybe I am being too philosophical but posture seems to be what scripture teaches in other places.


1 Peter 5:10 (NLT) 10 In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. 


2 Corinthians 4:17 (NLT) 17 For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! 


Ah, there it is!  Insight into Yellow Tape.  It’s temporary.  It doesn’t last forever.  It gets torn down.  The Yellow Tape moment does not last forever. Yellow Tape does not have the final say!


Yellow Tape is temporary and it’s never wasted.  God is always moving us, building us, forming us, pruning us into his likeness . . . if we let him, if we are postured for him.


Yellow Tape will always be a fear producer in me.  But seeing earth through heaven’s lens, allows me to be postured so my fear is not wasted.


How about you?  What’s your yellow tape experience?  Are you postured?  What do you do to see earth through Heaven’s lens?
Let us know in the comments below. 

See you on Sunday, 

Pastor Tom