The Whole Picture

We don’t see the whole picture. But He does. Because He’s God. We’re always operating from a limited vantage point. — Jim LaBerge

My friend, Jim, recently shared this timely nugget of wisdom with me as we were reflecting on why some things in life just don’t make sense. I’m sure we’re not alone here in wondering why some things in life don’t make sense in the moment; their timing, the how, and the big why. The apostle Paul captures this sentiment beautifully.

Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless. When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. 📖 1 Corinthians 13.9-12 NLT

I was encouraged by this reminder because even when we’re limited in what we can make sense of, God not only sees the whole picture, He’s in control, Goddin’ all the time, and orchestrating our circumstances.

But beyond that, we don’t always need the whole picture when God is in the picture. Faith is the confidence in what (and really a Who) we have good reason to believe and trust in (God).

Often God doesn’t give us the whole picture because He is the picture. He wants our gaze and our attention as the leader and Lord of our lives. Jesus repeated many times throughout Scripture: “follow Me.” It was an imperative for the people of the time but it’s an imperative for us too: follow Him. The hard truth is that obedience to God doesn’t mean that we always have to understand it (the when/where/why/how/what). Sometimes we only get the what or when and the others come later.

When we become consumed with having to have the whole picture for our lives and even the day-to-day things He prompts us about, we can fall prey to trying to play God or circumvent Him. This doesn’t mean we move through life without a plan recklessly, it means we look to be led. It means living surrendered. It means moving in what we know and can discern (doing our due diligence), trusting in Him with each step, and trusting Him when we’re moving in the unknown.

The Way

We can be reassured that God doesn’t bring us just to leave us. Meaning that He doesn’t lead us into challenges or allow trials and then just abandon us. The nation of Israel felt this way: ‘Lord, did You bring us here (the wilderness) to die?!?’ (Exodus 14). In a sense, He did. God led them through the wilderness so that they might die to themselves, dying to their will, and ways of doing things. But He was with them through it all. God’s desire was simply for them to follow Him.

In the New Testament, Jesus calls Himself, “The Way,” the Truth, and The Life (John 14.6). He wants us to look to Him as The Way. Not just the way to salvation or Heaven, but also the way that we do life. So much so that the earliest Christians (“little Christs”) weren’t called “Christians.” They were actually referred to as “People of The Way.”

Lord Of The Outcomes

It’s important to remember that even when we need or want a desired outcome, and even when we want it for the right reasons, God wants to be our ultimate reason. Meaning, His way is always the way and He wants us to pursue Him over getting married to an outcome. This is what it looks like to follow Him.

God’s not just Lord over our desired outcome but He’s Lord over all outcomes.

He holds them all. While some outcomes may or may not make sense at all to us, we must remember that God is no less God in those outcomes. He’s Lord over our good times and over our bad ones. He’s Lord over all outcomes. And He works them all together for our good (Romans 8.28).

A Prayer For Today

Lord, Your Word says that surely Your goodness and unfailing love will pursue us all the days of our lives. Thank You for Your goodness. Father, help us to be led today. In our go-go hustle culture, full of conveniences and advantages, we can forget that Your Way is The Way. You care about our big stuff and our little stuff. Help us to be led, laying down our wills, as You lead us. Help us to surrender, to seek You, to follow You, and to trust You every step of the way. In Jesus’ name.