I think we all know “big picture” people and “details” people – the people with the vision and the people who make it happen! Personally I am more of a details person – anyone who has the passion for writing lists that I have probably doesn’t have a huge grasp of the big picture!
A couple of months ago I was reading in 1 Kings 17 – 19 about Elijah. I was struck by the fact that God is a God of the big picture, but also a God of the details! He sent a drought to judge Israel (1 Kings 17:1), but in the midst of that He works in the lives of several individuals, to bring about His purposes and to show them WHO He is. The widow of Zarephath was able to say, after her son was raised from the dead, “Now I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the LORD in your mouth is truth.” (1 Kings 17:24) The prophets of Baal acknowledged that, “The LORD He is God!” (1 Kings 18:39) As I read this I was reminded of Moses in Exodus 3 where God tells him to tell the Egyptians that “I AM” has sent him. As I read this my mind went to a Christology class at Tilsley where we were discussing the different titles of God. I remember being struck by the fact that the title of “The LORD” or “Yahweh” or “I AM” means that within this title of “I AM” is the idea of the LORD as “the becoming one” – He who will be to me everything that I need Him to be!
And how true this has been over the past few months for me – God has indeed been to me what I needed Him to be (or perhaps more accurately, what He knew I needed Him to be, whether I realised or not!) You’re probably familiar with that famous quote from Tom Hanks in Forest Gump, where he says, “My Mum always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get…” Undoubtedly there is an element of truth in that (except if you are one of those people who reads the menu on the box…) However when I came to Scotland, life didn’t seem so much like a box of chocolates, but more like a jigsaw, with all of the bits, but none of them seemed to fit together – I could see details, but no big picture! Indeed this was reflected in my first blog, which was entitled “This doesn’t make sense…” Ten months ago I was sure that God was leading me to come to Tilsley College, but was unsure as to the purpose. Yet as the weeks and months went past gradually I have seen the jigsaw come together and I’ve seen the great “I AM” at work in the midst of it.
Jigsaw piece number 1:
We went to Italy on our mission awareness trip and I saw the importance of all aspects of mission, not simply those who are on the “frontline”, but the importance of those who facilitate mission.
Jigsaw piece number 2:
I did my field placement working on the organisation of GLO’s short term mission teams and I learned how God does not waste any of our skills, gifts, previous experiences etc to prepare us for the work He has for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10) As crazy as this may sound, there are people out there who enjoy working in an office!
Jigsaw piece number 3:
I have the opportunity to be involved in a GLO team in my church this summer and I am excited for this! When I read an article in a mission magazine about GLO’s short term mission teams in January 2015, little did I realise that this was a detail God was using in the big picture of my life!
Jigsaw piece number 4:
And amongst all of this I have lived with people, studied with people, went to church with people and drank coffee with people who I know the Lord has used to show me the importance of becoming more Christ-like. Surely that is the most important part of the “big picture” – that I am “conformed to the image of his Son”? (Romans 8:29)
Yes, there are still a few pieces of the jigsaw of my life that are missing or don’t quite seem to fit. However I was reminded of the poem ‘The Weaver’ which Corrie Ten Boom used to quote to illustrate the point that God is working in the details of our lives and when we can’t see the full picture, He can!
My life is but a weaving
Between my God and me.
I cannot choose the colors
He weaveth steadily.
Oft’ times He weaveth sorrow;
And I in foolish pride
Forget He sees the upper
And I the underside.
Not ’til the loom is silent
And the shuttles cease to fly
Will God unroll the canvas
And reveal the reason why.
The dark threads are as needful
In the weaver’s skillful hand
As the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern He has planned
He knows, He loves, He cares;
Nothing this truth can dim.
He gives the very best to those
Who leave the choice to Him.*
So, we can trust God with the details! This week I was struck by Peter’s response in John 6, as some of the disciples decide to no longer follow the Lord, Peter says, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” (John 6:68) Over the past ten months I have seen how God has used many details to enable me to “come to know” Him and I pray that He continues to do so, even though perhaps I won’t see the complete “big picture” until that day when He presents us “blameless before the presence of His glory with great joy, to the only God, our Saviour, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.” (Jude 25)