The Big Picture

It’s official: my wife thinks I’m crazy. Well, she didn’t exactly use those words, but her amateur diagnosis is that I suffer from O.C.D. (obsessive compulsive disorder). I simply like to think of myself as thorough. At any rate, this personality trait was engaged when I set out to complete a 1,000 piece puzzle on Monday afternoon while relaxing at our cottage in Arden, Ontario.

The puzzle is a compilation of scenes from the popular television show, LOST. I assumed that being familiar with the characters and symbols from the show would put me in good stead to complete the puzzle in a reasonable amount of time. I was wrong. No, I was hugely mistaken (You’ll have to ask Allie how long I spent working on the puzzle as I wasn’t keeping track of time). To make a long story short, I left the cottage on Tuesday afternoon with the puzzle largely incomplete (I estimate it was 60% finished). Those who know me well can appreciate how hard it was for me to pry myself away from an incomplete puzzle.

So, what was my problem? My problem was that the puzzle didn’t come with a picture. Perhaps, I’m too accustomed to doing children’s puzzles with my five year-old daughter, but I thought that all puzzles come with pictures……don’t they? The only picture I had to work with was a very partial one that was on the box cover. The partial picture was of some help, but I needed a more detailed revelation–I needed the complete picture. I needed to see the full view of what I was attempting to assemble. Without that, putting this puzzle together felt a lot like a walk in the dark…a lot of guesswork was involved. Subsequently, at the end of the day (more precisely, at the end of two days!), my puzzle remained incomplete.

Now imagine this: Imagine how you would get on if finding your purpose in life was like assembling a puzzle with a partial picture.

There may be some who would readily admit that finding purpose in life is like trying to solve a difficult puzzle. I once thought that. There was a day when I relied on my instincts, my intellect, my experience, and my education for answers to life’s difficult questions. There was a day when I relied on the majesty of creation to help me understand something about my Creator. However, creation, as beautiful and as glorious as it is, provides only a partial picture.

Creation points to the existence of God and it reveals something about His power and wisdom, but creation is insufficient to convey the holiness of God. Creation does not sufficiently reveal the mercy and kindness of God. Nor does creation make clear whether I personally matter to God. To learn this I need to see the big picture.

I’m so glad God didn’t give me a partial view. I’m so grateful that, in the Scripture, I have everything I need to find my purpose in the cosmos (2 Timothy 3:17). I was made by God, for God–to be in relationship with Him (Isaiah 43:7).

The Scriptures detail how my sin had alienated me from this original design……but God pursued me. There was a time when I was far away from God, but now I have been brought near by a Mediator (Ephesians 2:1-10, 13).

If I show any measure of confidence, it is not because of anything to do with Bryn MacPhail. My joy comes from the fact that I have read the Book, I have seen the picture, and I have embraced the message that God is for me in His Son, Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 1:26-31).

Finding purpose ought not to be like trying to solve a difficult puzzle. The big picture is readily available, and I am utterly convinced of its beauty.

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In the days following my post, ‘The Big Picture’, I’ve had lots of people ask about this puzzle. It turns out my wife and her friend completed the puzzle in my absence……I feel a post on lowliness, or humility coming on. Congratulations ladies—I proudly display your work.

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One thought on “The Big Picture

  1. the picture, for me means I am His, I belong to the creator and I trust him to continue to reveal his plan for myself. I do however desire that I myself might learn to take more joy in His picture and plan, and that I not get so distracted looking at all the half baked plans I create for myself. Thank you for the reminder to look to the picture and plan that was made for me!!!

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