Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions.
Sometimes we talk about seeing ‘the big picture’, meaning having a global outlook, or seeing things in their perspective. I want to suggest that our eternal God has a big picture about you and me.
He saw us when we were conceived in our mother’s womb, and he knows what’s happening every day, and hour and every minute. Nothing can escape his global vision, and we are the centre of his care and attention.
Often times, life’s experiences tend to make us unsure of God’s love or interest in us. Sickness or illness can make us question God’s presence, and we can ask, Why did God allow this to happen to me? It was Christian author C. S. Lewis who said: “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world”. Recent tragedies in different parts of the world have brought people to church to pray, and they ask for his help in times of trouble, because there is nowhere else to go.
When bad things happen and people suffer tragedy, they often turn to him. They realise that all the resources that are usually enough when things are going well, falter and fail in the face of adversity and calamity.
It’s like the fire engines we see driving around the city. We get out of their way and let them through the city traffic without too much thought. But if we knew they were heading to our own home to put out a fire, we would have a different reaction. Bad news takes our attention.
How Does God Get Your Attention?
I read of a lady who told a large audience about the many foster homes she had lived in up to the age of eight. Moving from place to place, she eventually came to a home and family. There she was happy, loved, and felt accepted. Everything seemed perfect. Then one day she ran home from school to find her little brown suitcase packed and waiting for her. She had to leave that family and move on again.
As she spoke of her heartache at having to move again, she noticed a few people starting to cry in sympathy with her plight. But then she said, “Oh, don’t feel sorry for me. You see, these difficult experiences brought me to faith in God.” Something good and positive came out of difficulty, and that’s the good news.
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“How great are God’s riches! How deep are his wisdom and knowledge!” (Romans 11:33 – GNT)
Our Heavenly Father knows the big picture of our lives, and he uses all kinds of ways to speak his love to us. He may use soft whispers, gentle nudges, or he may use something far more dramatic to get our attention and call us to himself.
Theologians use the word ‘omniscience’ to describe the God who knows all about you—omniscience, which means universal knowledge. In other words, God has all knowledge. Scripture tells us in Romans 11:33-36 (GNT):
How great are God’s riches! How deep are his wisdom and knowledge! Who can explain his decisions? Who can understand his ways? As the scripture says,
“Who knows the mind of the Lord?
Who is able to give him advice?
Who has ever given him anything,
so that he had to pay it back?”
For all things were created by him, and all things exist through him and for him. To God be the glory for ever.
Perhaps you feel sometimes that no-one understands you. I was speaking to a colleague recently and he said: “Everyone misunderstands me—no-one really knows the true me”. Perhaps that’s more common than we realise. But God knows and understands you—in fact, only he really understands. He has the big picture. He knows all the details, all the variables, and all the circumstances.
So when you say to a friend, I understand what you’re going through, think again. You can’t possibly know that. You can’t fully understand, because each experience of loss is different. But God has all the information, and he knows and understands. When you really think about it, he understands even better than you do. Not a single tear has gone unnoticed, and not a single fear is overlooked by him.
(To be continued in The Big Picture – Part 2)