Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ~Philippians 1:6
Can you guess the original object from the macro-photo above? Do you think looking at a bigger portion of the picture would help solve the mystery? Likewise, a big picture focus, spiritually speaking, transforms our ability to see life from God’s viewpoint.
I never tire of staring at macro photos. Their microscopic detail mesmerizes me, and the stunning beauty and richness of tiny intricate workmanship captures my heart.
And yet the unasked question beckons me: What is the big picture of which this small fragment is a part? The answer always surprises me, and I delight in finding the complete image.
Sometimes, we Christians lose sight of the bigger picture of God’s plan for our lives. Focusing on life from God’s viewpoint may elude us in the dark corners of the night when the what-ifs slither from under the bed. Confusion, grief, or anger may cloud the magnificent truth found in a mere twenty-one words in the following verse.
And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power.~Ephesians 1:19
As a result, we abandon truth and follow our emotions, hoping to find our way out of the tunnel and back into the light of normalcy. But the rock wall of our efforts looms ahead, forcing us to realize the solutions we sought were not within ourselves. When presented with hopeless problems, focusing on God’s master plan for our lives restores the big picture in our hearts.
What is the Big Picture spiritually speaking?
The big picture is how our lives relate to God and His plan for us. According to Colossians 1:16, we are created by Him and for His pleasure. As a result, our lives exist and are maintained by God, and our focus and allegiance belong to Him. The big picture exists outside of us and within the vast heart of God. His overarching plan for us will be carried out to the tiniest, glorious detail, and He may need time to finish His work in us according to Philippians 1:6.
But God’s final work in us creates thrilling macro photos of His grace and truth. And He fills us with His light until our faith shines with the iridescent orbs of wisdom, strung upon the gossamer threads of eternity. The following verses describe the big picture and God’s role in it.
For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.~Colossians 1:16-18
The big picture includes majestic biblical themes.
1. The beauty and value of our lives last far beyond our earthly existence as exampled by the “holy women of old” (1 Peter 3:5).
2. God has a plan for our lives regardless of our attitude, our fragility, and the brevity of our days. We do not deter Him from His focus. Looking beyond her weaknesses, He gave Sarah, Abraham’s wife, her long-desired baby Isaac (Genesis 21:2).
3. We belong to a priceless throng who love the LORD, follow Him, and dwell with Him forever (Psalm 23:6).
Knowing God’s grand scheme calms our stormy emotions and brings peace to the horizon of our lives. Our Bible–which can be read in a mere sixty-seven hours or less–shows His eternal plan. And His Bible—the big picture—contains stunning worlds of truth tucked into tiny macro stories. God projects His eternal view repeatedly in Scripture, but antagonists and protagonists in His stories lose sight of kingdom perspective as they become blinded by personal agendas.
Bible stories help us understand how we miss the big picture.
For example, God promised Sarah would become a Mother of Nations (Genesis 17:16). But she forgot His big picture and fretted as she aged because baby Isaac wasn’t born yet.
Mary worried and feared about the details of the angel Gabriel’s big announcement to her (Luke 1:26-34). When the angel Gabriel told Mary, the mother of Jesus, about her role in offering the world a Savior, she asked him a natural question about the details. She was justifiably troubled about the impossibility of a virgin conceiving.
Martha fretted about lack of help in the kitchen and even asked Jesus to make her sister, Mary, help her. Instead, Jesus gently guided Martha to understand her work on a higher level. He said that her sister’s focus on Him surpassed Martha’s narrow attention on the tiny world of her kitchen (Luke 10:40-42).
Well, have you figured out the big picture above yet? The delicate white threads in the photo seem surreal, stretching out in luxurious abandon and holding the iridescent spheres effortlessly. In reality, they are dandelions whose thistles are drenched with sparkling dew. Their glorious reflection of God’s attention to miniscule details gently reminds us that, whether we maintain our vision of the big picture found in Philippians 1:6 or not, we can always enjoy the way God creates sublime beauty out of the tiny details of our lives!
What could you tell a friend in crisis to reassure them that God is working on a bigger picture for their lives?
Lord, please help me to know that Your bigger picture for my life rises above my current circumstances. Thank you. Amen.