The Big Picture
Written October 2019
“ As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. ” (Genesis 50:20 ESV)
One of the blessings of reading through the Bible is revisiting those passages and stories that you know very well and having the chance to be reminded of the timeless truths and life principles in which they teach.
In Genesis chapter 50 we see the events immediately preceding the death of Jacob in the land of Egypt. Jacob’s body is taken to the land of Canaan, he is mourned and buried there, then his family returns to the land of Egypt. It is here that all of Joseph’s brothers are fearful that their brother will enact revenge upon them for all the evils they poured out into his life.
Being fearful the brothers try and protect themselves with a made-up story about what their father wanted Joseph to do in regards to them, but all their fears and worries were unfounded because Joseph had already settled this matter in his heart.
In verse twenty Joseph comforts the fears and anxieties of his brothers by sharing the insights he has gained through a life of suffering and triumph. In essence, he tells his brothers, “Don’t worry I have seen the big picture.” Joseph conveys that he understands that so many decades ago his brothers meant to do him harm and evil in selling him into slavery. Joseph, better than anyone, understood how his brothers’ wishes came true as he suffered as a slave, was falsely accused of a crime he did not commit. He suffered in prison, forgotten by those he helped, experiencing untold depression, anguish, and anger. Yet Joseph understood that all these things, as evil as they were, had a greater and better purpose in his life. God used the evil and vile betrayal of his brothers to move Joseph to a vital and powerful position in Egypt which allowed him to save his family and in turn an entire nation from extinction.
Joseph learned, that even though he went through trials that were terrible and unjust, to look back on those times with a vision that looked at the big picture. Rather than focusing on the injustice that was brought against him, he saw the hand of God moving and working for a good far greater than he could have comprehended at any point in his trials.
One of the struggles that we face, in enduring hardships, let downs, and betrayals, is to continue to look beyond our current hurt and realize that God is working on us and through us in our pain. Pain and heartache often make us look at life through a microscope instead of a panoramic lens. We only see the now and the discomfort but what Joseph’s story reminds us of is to always look at the Big picture. That there are things going on all around us that only God knows about and He is orchestrating them for a purpose that will bring Him glory and honor.
Today if you are going through one of those shadowy parts of life where it seems the sun will never shine again let me tell you, I’m so sorry that you are going through that. Agony is never a pleasant road to travel upon. My hope is that you can see, just as Joseph revealed to us, that things do happen for a purpose, and though we might not see it immediately, God, in His perfect timing, will reveal it all to us.
The old song “By and By” says it quite well:
Temptations, hidden snares often take us unawares, and our hearts are made to bleed for a thoughtless word or deed; and we wonder why the test when we try to do our best, but we’ll understand it better understand it better by and by.
By and by, when the morning comes, when the saints of God are gathered home, we’ll tell the story how we’ve overcome, for we’ll understand it better by and by
Lord, help me to keep a watch on the big picture of my life. I confess that it is so easy to focus on just the here and now and forget that you look out and consider all of eternity. Help me to remember that You have plans far greater and more complex than my mind could ever fathom, but woven into each of your actions is wisdom and love for Your child. Help me I pray to trust Your hand in both the joyous times as well as the times of difficulty and despair for I know you are working on me and the world around me in both. Amen.