Getting the Big Picture






Life is just overwhelming. Work is demanding, relationships are draining, and bills are ever-present.  We are a people who are maxed out, stressed out, worn out, washed out, and run out. It’s hard to believe that there is a big picture being painted for our whole lives, because today’s events seem like they could take up the whole canvas. We fall into our beds after another exhausting day, hoping that sleep will provide some sort of comfort and relief from the constant state of chaos that exists in our spirits, and we don’t find it there. All the hopes, dreams, wants, needs, fears, and expectations for tomorrow cloud our view, and taint our understanding of the big picture.  It becomes easier and easier to dismiss this notion of a Master Planner, an Expert Artist, who with paintbrush in hand, is generating a glorious picture with our lives.


The big picture of our lives was carefully thought out and planned even before the beginning of our existence.  Deliberate brush strokes lovingly paint a masterpiece that is a true original. The colors have been mixed perfectly. Every detail is flawless and intricate. To the untrained eye that does not appreciate fine art, it may appear as if some places are blemished and messy. Those who don’t understand may point with disgust and doubt the Artist, even before seeing the completed work.


“What happened there in that spot? What is that going to be? That doesn’t look like it goes together at all! Why did he choose that color? That texture? It just doesn’t make sense! What is He doing?”


Yet the avid art enthusiast, especially one who knows and loves the Artist, takes time to view the piece from different angles, and to place it in different lights before trying to judge the purpose behind it. He asks questions and gains insight from the Artist Himself, because to study and know Him is to trust that what He is creating with our life pictures is going to be perfect. They aren’t finished yet. We can’t always know what He is doing, but He does, and He promised that this work He has begun will one day be made completely perfect.


How often am I the uneducated viewer complaining about the picture of my life, even becoming angry and frustrated about the way mine looks compared to all the other paintings in the gallery.  “Why are there so many valleys and what are all of those brown blobs in the middle going to be? I wish mine looked different. Others’ seem brighter, and more purposeful. What’s wrong with mine?”

My ignorant discontent distorts my view, making it so difficult to see clearly. I think maybe I can “fix” it. You know, help Him a little. Then the only thing I can’t stop staring at are the parts that don’t make sense, making the whole thing seem blurry and out of focus. I look at it and ask the Lord what He is doing when the picture seems more confusing, and more complicated than ever. Sometimes He gently reminds me that those are the places that I painted myself. When I took the brush right out of His hands because I thought I knew better. Most of the time, I don’t ask for the divine perspective that He longs to give me. I’ve lacked the faith to believe that the picture will become perfect in His time, and His way. Without my help. Without my intervention.

Nevertheless, He keeps on painting. Keeps on transforming. Keeps on refining.

The Artist assures me that the final product will be exactly as He intended. With the Spirit’s help, I can begin to see the messy, mixed up, hard to look at places on the canvas as beautiful, because I know that they are producing the final product. They are the steps in the process that are leading to the glorious unveiling…the declaration of who He is by what He has done with this picture of my life.  And I pray that as the last brush stroke is serenaded by my final breath, a song that sings my thankfulness will rise from my lips to praise the only One who makes beauty from ashes and masterpieces from messes.

His gallery is full of big pictures in progress, just waiting to be embraced. Look for yours, and let it lead you to fall more deeply in love with an Artist who never fails, and never stops His perfecting work for His own.

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