In life we often forget the size and scope of the “big picture.” We reach these perceived dead ends and closed doors. We begin to feel as though we have been forsaken or deserted. However, as you read the bible you discover all sorts of cases when an individual thought he was forsaken, but wasn’t. Had they seen the “big picture” they would have known that God had something much better in store for them. God’s number one plan for His children is to save them and make them image bearers of His love and holiness. God always has the long-term in mind. God only thinks in terms of eternity.
The story of Joseph comes to mind when I think of keeping my eyes on the “big picture”. Think of the finite perspective of the all the key players at the end of Genesis 37.
33 And he identified it and said, “It is my son’s robe. A fierce animal has devoured him. Joseph is without doubt torn to pieces.” 34. Then Jacob tore his garments and put sackcloth on his loins and mourned for his son many days. 35. All his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted and said, “No, I shall go down to Sheol to my son, mourning.” Thus his father wept for him. 36. Meanwhile the Midianites had sold him in Egypt to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, the captain of the guard.
Paul Tripp in his book Forever, (zondervan) makes this observation, We tend to miss the drama of the moment because we know where the story goes next, but the characters in the story didn’t. Jacob thought his son Joseph was dead (he wasn’t). The brothers thought they had gotten rid of Joseph for good (they hadn’t). Joseph thought he would die as a slave and never see his family again (he would not die as a slave, and he would see his family again). No one in this terrible family drama had a clue. In fact, the very thing that each of them thought was ruining there lives, was actually saving them. As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today, (Genesis 50:20, ESV).
How often we, like Joseph, Jacob, and Joseph’s brothers, finish the story in our heads with a short-sighted perspective rather than the long-term one. How often do we forget that God is, doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told. (Habakkuk 1:5, ESV). God always has the “big picture” of your life in mind. And in that big picture he is ultimately wanting to perserve you, not necessarily your bank account, for eternity. It may not make the loss, pain, heartache hurt less. Joseph’s story is proof of that. But it can help us remember that God’s version of our story is always the best.
When you find yourself succumbing to that short-sighted perspective. Remember the men on the road to Emmaus, or the disciples. They thought Christ’s death had ruined them (it hadn’t). They thought Jesus had deserted them and was far away from them (He wasn’t). Christ’s death didn’t ruin them, but saved them. And when they thought Christ was the furthest away, He walks up beside them.
Keep your eyes on the “big picture”. Remember that the thing you think is ruining your life might be saving it. Remember, that when you feel like God is furthest from you, He’s actually walking with you. Remember that God always works in terms of eternity. And His greatest objective for you, is to save you for eternity. Remember that Joseph’s statement in Genesis 50:20, As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today, is pointing us to a much greater savior, Jesus Christ. That although we meant Jesus evil on the cross, it was the very means by which God was saving us.
When all seems lost, dark, or hopeless remember the “big picture” Remember Zephaniah 3:17 (ESV) The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.
Copyright 2012 Richie Halversen