The Bigger Picture

by:  Staci Stallings

The other day something funny happened with a writer’s group I’m in.  Most of our conversations happen on Facebook, and on Facebook, each author’s links are accompanied by a rather small image.  By rather small, I mean they can get really tiny.

It’s interesting how things that are great as a big picture often don’t translate that way into smaller images.  Sometimes, in fact, it becomes hard to even tell what the image is depicting. And thus it was with this image.

The whole thing was kind of orange-ish and peach-ish.  In one corner, you could see the cross, but the rest of it looked like… well, intestines or worse.  It was indistinct and looked not exactly appetizing.

Not trying to be mean but wondering, one of our members asked what that photo was of because it looked disgusting.  I had already thought that myself though I didn’t check it out and didn’t comment on it.  So I went to check it out.

Turns out, the bigger photo was a very pleasant one of a seashore, sand, water, and the cross probably at sunrise or sunset due to the hue of it.  I went back and explained what the picture was of, and the member came back and said, “Oh, wow!  You’re right.  It’s pretty.  The bigger picture sure helps.”

We laughed because it’s so true.  The smaller the picture you see of your life, the more insignificant and bad it looks.  In fact, sometimes it can be easy to wonder what the point of it even is.  But that’s because you’re looking at the small picture–not the big one.

You know, this week as we’ve grieved the two out-of-the-blue deaths, I have come to wonder how God sees things like life and death in the bigger picture.

For example, if you are a parent and your children have any close cousins, relatives, or friends who come for awhile and then leave, you will understand this phenomenon.  The children are together, and they play for hours.  Then it comes time to go home.  The pleading starts, “Please can they stay!  Please can we go with them… You can come get us tomorrow.”

As a parent you know that in the bigger picture, you will see this same set of people next weekend.  But the kids don’t see it that way.  What they see is that their friend is leaving.

See, I think God doesn’t see death the way we do.  He is with us always.  Now and on the other side.  There is no separation.

Not that He doesn’t understand our grief or how much it hurts for someone here to die (look at Him with Lazarus and his sisters).  But there must be a fundamental difference in how He sees all of this and how we do.  I think it’s because He sees the bigger picture.  He sees not a disgusting mess that makes no sense, but a beautiful tapestry that He is forming.  Yes, that tapestry sometimes has black threads in it.  But it also has white ones and gold ones and pink ones and purple ones.

That’s why I think being a Christian is so important.  We may only be able to see the little picture, but we know the One Who can see the bigger picture.  And sometimes, every so often, He will give us a glimpse as well.  And that glimpse, that insight can change how we see many things about the smaller picture that is our lives. Plus, we have the faith that when we finally do see the bigger picture, it’s going to make sense.  And that is a faith worth holding onto–especially when the little picture doesn’t look how we would like it to.


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Coming Undone

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