Focus on the Big Picture

We live in a culture of quick fixes and short answers. Tweets were 140 characters but are now a whopping 280. Books and articles are reduced to quotes. News consists of 30 second sound bites no matter how much they are taken out of context. Everything needs to be concise and able to share. You can even post a Bible verse to encapsulate your spiritual walk.

Unfortunately, the scriptures give little attention to timely quotes and momentary lessons. The books of the Bible are extended tales and usually, take a long view of life. The immediate situation is always laid in the context of a bigger story.

I just finished preaching on the book of Ruth and found this truth portrayed to me once again. The story covers at least a dozen years in the first chapter. The rest of the story takes another three months to find some sense of completion, then the story turns and gives us a picture of conception and birth that take another nine months. Finally, the story ends not with one family, but a genealogy of four generations. The final words of the story are hundreds of years in the making.

This is not the only story to highlight this thinking in the Old Testament. Joseph in the book of Genesis must endure slavery, lies, prison and be forgotten before he achieves anything years later. Job is a man who gains, loses, wrestles, and regains over a lifetime. Moses will spend forty years in Egypt, another 40 as a shepherd and then 40 years as a leader. Then the story really doesn’t reach a climax as Moses dies outside of the promised land. Jeremiah watches his countryman go off into exile. God promises to bless them in just a mere 70 years.

God’s word continually reminds us that our story cannot be reduced to a few moments or words. The scenes we see being played out are part of a much bigger story that God himself is writing.

I think we need to be reminded of this every single day. The temptation is to focus on what happened this day and ride the emotional wave of success and defeat as each day closes. The story of your life is much more complicated than one day in 2018. You are part of an intricate story that God has been writing since before you were born and will continue sharing after you are gone. Ruth in the Old Testament did not know the great king David, but her story of faithfulness and commitment will impact generations of unseen people.

Today, no matter how bad things seem, your life is part of a grand story. You need to trust that the author is creating a bigger narrative than just today.

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