Bigger picture or Smaller Picture


This morning I was listening to Outlook on the BBC World Service. One item was about this Iranian telecoms multimillionaire who became the first woman space tourist. It cost her 20 million, and she loved it so much, she wants to go back soon. She was even a space blogger, and has a description on her blog of the smell of space. I haven’t checked it out yet, because I don’t know the site.

I can’t remember if the world’s first female tourist (I don’t remember her name) took pictures, but she describes her joy at seeing Iran from space. It looked so peaceful. Ironic that in the news that very hour, the BBC reported a statement by the Iranian president that was sure to upset the West and Israel. And there’s the whole nuclear weapons issue that has been rumbling now for a few years.

Is that what we mean when we talk about the bigger picture? Surely, she’d have seen the whole earth, and everything would look so peaceful from her vantage position. So, if she’d been looking at Gaza, would she have seen the fighting in the main hospital, and the 12 year old boy who was selling tea and coffee to staff and patients, right in the middle of it? That report preceded her interview on the same programme .

I ask because whenever things don’t go as I like, someone is bound to say I shouldn’t worry, because God sees the bigger picture. Now, I’m no authority on pictures, but the idea of God looking at the bigger picture seems inadequate to me. If He only saw the bigger picture, then I’d be a speck, … even smaller than that, … and my own worries and hopes would be totally Lost when compared to everything else. The whole world would look so peaceful because the size of the picture couldn’t permit the viewer the sight of specks moving about and carrying on with their daily business.

I haven’t been blogging for a while; actually, I’ve been wrapped up in myself quite a bit. Maybe I’ve been looking at the smaller picture, … and maybe I’ve been looking too hard. But all around me, things were happening. A very dear friend lost her mum. Another 26 year old is desperatly fighting various cancers. I remember walking the streets of Lancaster after my mum died, wondering why every stranger was carrying on as though their world hadn’t just been shattered. At least I’ve learned since then that everything doesn’t revolve around me. And to tell the truth, some good things have happened too.

So, if I can see the bigger picture outside of my own existence, then maybe God can see even more. But I think God also sees the small picture too; after all it says in the Bible, not to despise the day of small things. It’s interesting that it costs a tourist 20 million dollars to go to space. It cost Jesus His life to come down to earth and experience my world. Which is more valuable, 20 million dollars or a life. Well I don’t have 20 million, and I have a life. If, whatever else we have, everyone has a life, then it must be reasonable to say that 20 million dollars is more valuable. So, why is that not the case?

I think the answer is in the Bible, where God says “My ways are not your ways … My ways are higher than yours”. The recognition that what we don’t have access to is actually less valuable than what we have is the beginning of understanding that God’s design is beyond our natural logic.

I think God sees the smaller pieces too. One day, when I was still struggling with my faith, I came to the recognition that what I really needed was to read the Bible more. I had a few books of the Bible then, what I needed for my O level in Christian Religious studies. Frankly, reading four or five books of the Bible had become boring, and I’d stopped reading, … then stopped going to church … then gone further down that slippery slope. I remember thinking that night, just before going to bed that it would be good if I could read the Bible a little more. I also remember that I didn’t pray, I just thought about it, like you’d think of ringing a friend, when you knew you’d never get round to it. The next morning, at precisely 7 AM, I was checking my priorities, looking for the BBC World Service. On the way, I came across a station which broadcast Bible readings at that time exactly. I’d never come across it before, but that morning, after the thought of the night before, there it was.

So, maybe I’m not so insignificant after all. Maybe God’s looking out for me, even when I’m not praying, and maybe the first thing He wanted was that I know that, and know Him more. Since then, I’ve found this to be true, that whatever is happening, wherever I am, however things are going, His word that He’ll never leave nor forsake me is true. He never said things will always go swimmingly, but that when I pass through the waters, they will not overwhelm me. When He told Moses to go to the Pharaoh and tell him to let the Israelites go, it didn’t mean that Moses wouldn’t encounter difficulties. But God was there with victory, each time.

He sees the bigger picture. When I only see the present, He sees the future too. When I only see myself, He sees all those around. When I only see the natural, He sees what’s going on in the Spiritual realm. But even in all that, He sees little, insignificant me, and He thinks I’m so important that when I need to read His word more, He points me to the right place. When I’m lonely, or need someone to help, He sends a friend my way. Actually, it once happened that a friend said she’d been praying for someone to talk to. We met at someone’s party. I travelled about three hours on the train to get there, she travelled about two hours by car, from a different direction.

God cares because He loves me, because He sees me, but also because He’s promised. He holds His promise dearly, the Bible says that His name is so honourable to Him, that whatever He promises, He will do, for the Glory of His name.

How does God manage to see such detail in a bigger picture. It must be like looking through a digital camera with a trillion megapixels!


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