Take a Step Back
Growing up, I loved going to museums (and still do). I particularly enjoyed art museums. It was there that I developed a deep appreciation for paintings and their stylistically different interpretations of life. Over the years though, I became partial to one specific style—Impressionism. The nature of the art fascinated me. The pictures are characterized by small, quick brush strokes—which up close look like a colorful jumble of an almost meaningless mish-mash of dabs of paint. The strokes are almost crude and insulting, a contemptuous attempt at real art. But…the masterful genius of it all is in the distance. When the spectator takes a step back…and then another, and another…those tiny, distasteful and objectionable strokes begin to form the most masterful and exquisite pictures of life and nature.
Sometimes, I think for us, life can very much feel like one of those Impressionistic paintings. When we view some of the events in our lives and see how difficult, how grievous and troublesome they have been, we are put off by them. The Artist of our lives seems, to us, to have made a mistake. His brush strokes almost seem offensive. We go so far as to question His genius, the intentionality of His plans, His motivations and even His ability to create a masterpiece. We view the painting, and even judge the painting, up close, examining the short, rough strokes…determining them to be meaningless and regrettable.
Job saw his situation this way. He had lost all of his children, possessions, and his health, and it rocked him to his core. He grieved intensely. He was depressed, saddened, even angry. He couldn’t help but to see his circumstance up close. In fact, he said: “I cry out to you, God, but you do not answer; I stand up, but you merely look at me. You turn on me ruthlessly; with the might of your hand you attack me. You snatch me up and drive me before the wind; you toss me about in the storm.” Job 30:20-22
He questions his existence and even wishes that he had not been born. But in chapters 38-41, God gives Job the proper view in his situation, the distance he needs. God gives Job “perspective”: “Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm. He said: ‘Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge?’”
The Lord goes on to give Job His resume—the most impressive list of qualifications to ever exist. Job’s response to this? Appropriately, he acknowledges in chapter 42: “I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted…Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.” After God gave Job the proper perspective, He restored all that Job had lost.
The takeaway? Take a step back… Let’s take our eyes off of the individual strokes, back up a little and start to look at the picture as a whole; let’s trust God for each of the situations and circumstances we experience. He already sees the “big picture”. Let’s allow Him to open our eyes to see it, too.
FBC Aztec Member