“God always has the bigger picture in mind in His scheme of things, which is one of His tremendous attributes”.
Staying focused on and keeping in mind the bigger picture is one of the most valuable advices we can get.
Especially during those times which are testing and seemingly without hope, and we really need to press on.
And not only do we have to press on, we also have to press through.
For life will, without fail, and without warning, throw some things our way that can knock the wind out our sails.
It’s never easy, and the only way we can press through is by focusing on the bigger picture.
This ‘bigger picture’ concept is something that begins with God for it is His attribute.
So no man can boastfully claim this concept as his own.
Every man, because he is made in the image of God, has this attribute to some degree.
Some may have this ‘bigger picture’ attitude more than others, depending on their circumstances at the time.
But even whatever little any man may have, it will always be enough and sufficient to get us through.
We just need to know it, and no doubt, most of us do know it.
So with exceptions of course, “can’t do” can never be an option, but only an excuse.
And so that leaves us with “will do” or “won’t do” as the only options.
Track Records Are Necessary
We all understand track records, for it is a necessary part of every sphere of our real lives.
From picking our leaders, choosing our employees, applying for jobs, our daily purchases, you name it, we need a track record.
And this indispensable need filters right down even to the nitty-gritty aspect of our daily lives.
We will always look for something or somebody we feel with the best, reliable and acceptable track record.
And in order to do that we will always, in some way or the other, put it to the test.
For we are all on a journey and there are steps to take and stages to reach.
And each stage is that bigger picture of hope for us we have personally in our minds.
Whether we get there or not is a different matter, but the fact is that we all do hopefully envision it.
And we need some if not at least one reliable person to try and get there.
That’s a universal law of life.
Trust Not Easily Found
Trust is a commodity, if we want to call it that, not easily found these days.
It is probably our greatest need as far as needs go, and it’s hard to come by.
Even those who are closest to us can let us down so often and in so many ways.
It is a sad reality, but yet we are still always looking for someone to trust, someone who is reliable.
And rightfully so, because it is a vital part of our human make up that makes us who we are.
No one can stand or make it alone. There is no such thing as a self-made man, even though many claim to be so.
We all need somebody we can trust, much as we may claim otherwise.
Yes, we will all be let down from time to time and there is no getting away from it.
Paul the great apostle of the Gentiles, even towards the end of his ministry, shortly before he was martyred, was let down.
Writing his final letter to Timothy, his son in the faith, Paul said this in [2 Timothy 1:15]:
“This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me;”
And as the apostle Paul pens his final words from his imprisonment in Rome, he writes in [2 Timothy 4:6]:
“For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand”.
And then he mentions ‘Demas’, who was an integral part of his evangelistic endeavours [2 Timothy 4:10-11].
“ For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world”
But in HIS faithful providence, God left him at least one man standing with him, “Only Luke is with me”.
Something To See
But there is something that we really want to see in this part of Scripture.
And that is that Paul always had that final bigger picture in his sights as we see in [2 Timothy 4:7-8].
“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith”.
Indeed, the apostle Paul fought a great fight of faith against all odds. His life was in constant danger from his fellow religious Jews.
God had sent His Son to the cross and completed the work of redemption.
And the time for the Gentiles was at hand.
But His Own chosen nation was going to come against it tooth and nail, which they did.
They graphically displayed their rejection by brutally stoning Stephen to death.
The entire account of their rejection is recorded in [Acts 7].
Saul of Tarsus virtually led this revolt only to be supernaturally converted to Paul the Apostle of the Gentiles.
Then his own fellow Jews turned on him with a vengeance. All the odds were stacked high against him.
But it was ‘this man’ that God specifically chose to bring HIS bigger picture to fruition.
And that was Salvation to a lost humanity without Israel and without the Law, and usher in the Age of Grace.
That’s why, as he comes to these final moments of his life, he could confidently state that bigger picture.
“Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the Righteous Judge, shall give me at that day”.
And then this great apostle of ours, with an unselfish burden for you and I, leaves us with this great ‘bigger picture’.
“And not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing”.
God’s Track Record
The Bible is not only God’s Inerrant and Authoritative Word; it is also His Amazing and flawless track record.
Against all natural and human odds God always gets it right.
Isaiah 46:9-11 tells us that God declares how things are going to turn out before they happen.
He declares the “end from the beginning” and “things that are not yet done”.
So, the future is the counsel of God being established.
Or to put it another way, it is the purposes of God being accomplished by God.
This clearly shows us that God always has the bigger picture in mind.
And the counsel and the purposes of God, though incomprehensible sometimes, can be trusted.
It is this trust that God desires every single one of us to have in Him.
And this trust is not blind, for we have His brilliant, infallible, reliable and historical track record.
As John Stott, the late English theologian put it so wonderfully; “God has never left Himself with testimony”.
That is why we firmly maintain, that faith in Christ Jesus is not blind; it is ‘documented’.
Only Plan A
With God our Supreme Creator, there was, is and always will be only ‘plan A’.
There has never been a plan B with God, unlike us.
We, and rightfully so, at most times need to have at least one contingency plan to fall back on.
Plan A is usually, if not invariably, always backed with a plan ‘B’ or plan ‘C’.
But not so with God!
The Bigger Picture was set in place at some point in eternity past in the board rooms of heaven.
And with the beginning of creation this plan was set in motion.
The Bible calls it the “the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God”, which Peter speaks of in [Acts 2:23].
The Bigger Picture
When man fell in the Garden of Eden in the Genesis creation account, God sprung into action.
HE slayed an innocent lamb and clothed Adam and his wife Eve, setting His redemptive plan in motion [Genesis 3:21].
God clothed them with His Garments of Salvation and His Robe of Righteousness [Isaiah 61:10].
This judicial ‘Act of God’, though symbolic, had the bigger picture attached to it.
For God prophetically had already made His decree in [Genesis 3:15].
“And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed”.
And then HE closed His statement by declaring, “it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel”.
Did the bigger picture come to fruition?
You bet it did!
God Himself, in the Person of the Son, Jesus Christ, did just that on the cross.
What started with Adam and Eve was now open to the entire human race, without any works or Law.
What began as symbolic had now become a ‘set in concrete’ reality.
Joseph’s Pit Stop
When his brothers threw Joseph into the pit and left him to die, God used the occasion as His pit stop.
Joseph’s “coat of many colours” is a well-known Biblical account found from [Genesis 37] onwards to the end.
The great theme was that, “whatever evil comes our way, God turns it around for good”.
The bigger picture here was to save the entire family from a severe seven-year famine that was on its way.
And that is exactly what happened!
After all, with Abraham God had set in motion his great plan to sovereignly form the nation of Israel.
So, there was this other ‘bigger picture’ in the making too.
When Hagar Was Cast Out
God allowed the Egyptian bondwoman Hagar to be ‘cast out’ by Abraham’s wife Sarah in [Genesis 21:10].
“Cast out” is a strong Biblical term.
Fourteen years earlier, when Hagar fled from her mistress, God Personally instructed her to go back.
Why Did God allow this?
There was the bigger picture in the mind of God that was to come to fruition two thousand years later.
Fourteen years after God raised the apostle Paul as the apostle of the Gentiles, God sends him back to Jerusalem.
Paul meets with the twelve other apostles of the Jews in what has come to be known as the “Jerusalem Council”.
That speaks of God’s ‘double emphasis’. That is how important it is!
Paul was there to establish Heaven’s case that God was saving Gentiles without Israel and without the Law.
Was Heaven’s case established?
You bet it was!
The Twelve Saw
[Galatians 2:7] tells us that the twelve apostles of Christ Jesus, “saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision (the Gentiles) was committed unto me (Paul)”
Twelve years before this meeting took place, God had sent Peter to the household of Cornelius, who were Gentiles.
This was not a case of Peter’s and the other apostle’s ministry to Gentiles.
They ‘NEVER’ had a ministry among the Gentiles as has been wrongly taught.
That was reserved only for and through the apostle Paul.
So why then did God send Peter to the house of Cornelius? Was God being contradictory here?
God always has the bigger picture. And HE was going to prepare Peter for an event that would take place twelve years down the road.
When the “Jerusalem Council” was in session, it was Peter who came to Paul’s defence [Acts 15:6-14]
God Always Has A Prepared Man In Place
In order to fulfill His purposes, God always has a prepared man in place.
Peter recalled to memory how God had sent him to the house of Cornelius twelve years ago.
He was the one who convinced the other apostles that God was saving Gentiles without the Law.
He never understood it, but Peter with six other accompanying Jews saw it first hand with their own eyes.
So Peter was able to convince them that God was now NOT putting any difference between the Jew and the Gentile.
And then turning to the other apostles, this is what Peter told them in [Acts 15:10]:
“Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the (Gentile) disciples?”
And then he ends up by saying, “which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?”
In other words Peter told them:
“Why do you want to make them beasts of burden that neither we nor our ancestors could handle?”
And what was the end result of all this? We see it in [Acts 15:14-15].
James, the New Testament legalist and half brother of Jesus Christ, spelt it out.
“Simeon (Peter) hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for His Name”.
Even the Old Testament validated it!
“And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written……”
The bigger picture had come to fruition!
A Bold Declaration
“Nevertheless what saith the Scripture?”
What Scripture says stands as God’s final Word!
You see that strong term ‘cast out’ again?
“For the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman”.
What is the apostle Paul saying here?
The ‘son of the bondwoman’ Hagar (Ishmael) represents ‘The Law’, whereas the ‘son of the freewoman’ Sarah (Isaac) represents ‘Grace’.
And “Law” cannot, does not, and will not mix with “Grace”.
“Cast out” is the term used here, which flies in the face of the religious legalists.
God indeed is saving “whosoever will” believe + nothing else in His Wonderful “Gospel Of Grace”, without the Law.
“Jesus Christ died for our sins, was buried and rose again the third day for our justification”.
Not Going To Be Easy
We have a life to go through and it’s not going to easy, much as we would like it that way.
Jesus Christ never gave us a false impression as many have unfortunately and deceptively propagated.
“In this world ye shall have tribulation”, were His words in [John 16:33].
This life is indeed going to throw some hard stuff our way.
But in the same breath HE has definitely given us a wonderful assurance!
“But be of good cheer, I have overcome the world”.
It’s the bigger picture, which God gives to us both Personally and individually.
If we understand the Bible, then we understand that Jesus Christ is the Creator God in Genesis 1:1.
The Bible is His track record and He has NEVER failed! It can be trusted!
There is no reason that any one can have ‘not to lay hold of this’.
At any and every stage of our sojourn in this life, GOD always has the bigger picture for you and me.
That is why the great apostle Paul, speaking of Jesus Christ, says this in [Romans 15:13]:
“Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Spirit”.