Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Biggest Picture

First, there's the picture.

The picture is whatever you see right in front of you. Sometimes it's wonderful, but sometimes it's discouraging. Like when it's a big red pimple on the end of your nose, glowing back at you in the mirror when you wake up on the day you're taking yearbook photos. Or maybe it's a big fat D minus on your Algebra test, your one-way ticket to being grounded for a month. It can be a text from a friend telling you your crush just asked that annoying girl in your Spanish class to the dance. The picture is immediate and it tends to dominate our whole view, blocking everything else, at least for the moment.

Then there's the big picture. The big picture is the reminder that someday you'll look back and laugh at all your yearbook photos anyway. It's the incentive to study hard now because you really do want to get into a good college. It's realizing the world is full of interesting people and only a very small percentage of them go to your high school, so no need to hook up with the first cute guy that comes along. The big picture looks ahead to the future and makes it easier to take the immediate picture a little less seriously.

Some of us are pretty good at focusing on the big picture. But what about the bigger picture? The bigger picture looks past your own dreams and goals to consider the needs of others. It may inspire you to serve soup to the homeless or volunteer to be a big sister to an at risk child. It works at a book store after school to save money for a mission trip to Haiti. It lives aware of a big, hurting world and looks for ways to make that world a better place. The bigger picture is noble and compassionate and kind, and the world needs more people who see it.

Ah, but then there's the biggest picture. The biggest picture is the one God sees. It reveals all of history, from before the creation of the world until time ceases to be. In the biggest picture, God is enthroned in heaven and the earth is His footstool. He knows the thoughts of kings and commands heavenly armies, but He also numbers the hairs on every head. The biggest picture has a cross at its center, and everything else--the picture, the big picture, and the bigger picture--finds meaning in relation to the Lamb who willingly died on that cross for sin, then rose from the dead to give us eternal life. The biggest picture has been painted with words and we can see it, too, by faith.

Life is tough. We can't always make things go the way we think they should, but there's at least one choice we always have.

Which picture will you look at today?

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