bits from bob....

What Can You See?

by Robert J. Young
©, 2002, Robert J. Young
[permission is given to reprint with credit noted]

Most of us have heard the expression, "He can't see the forest for the trees." Consider with me the meaning of that phrase. One can get too close to an object to see the big picture, but one can also remain so distant that individual details are overlooked. A correct view of life requires both the "macro" and the "micro"--the big picture and the detailed look. A proper view of life calls for the microscope at times, and the telescope at other times. This principle has several spiritual applications--in Bible study, in planning, in understanding God's actions in our lives.

I. The Big Picture--get out the telescope.
View the whole, get enough distance to be objective. This is a necessary perspective. In planning, this is the vision required for long-range plans. In Bible study, this is understanding the unity of the message of Scripture. In faith and prayer, this is accepting that life is not measured solely by the heartaches and difficulties of today. The big picture keeps us from despairing in the tragedies and traumas of today. A vision for the future fuels our spirits and freshens our hope. God is in control, working in our lives for good, even in problems and obstacles.
When you look at life, never neglect the telescope. Use your telephoto lens, stand back, and see the whole picture.

II. The Little Details--get out the microscope.
The larger perspective is not enough. Short range plans are essential. Analyze details. In Bible study ask, "What contribution does this writer or book make to the overall message?" God's message comes in bits and pieces, from specific situations. God reveals himself in many different circumstances. Long range plans seldom come to pass without the support of short range plans. The church that lives by the statistic will die by the statistic. Every day is not a triumph, but every day has its lesson. When the Pharisees "majored in minors," their microscope was focused but their telescope was in the closet. Some today would "minor in the majors." Such a picture develops when one puts away the microscope and ignores the details of God's normative, authoritative Word.

Consider the Lessons
When you study your Bible, be aware of both the unity of the Bible and the uniqueness of the individual books in the Bible. Look for the big picture, appreciate the message of the individual writers.
When you look at life, seek to view God's overall purpose. Do not be fearful and discouraged because of today's clouds. The sun will shine again.
When you make plans, include both a short range view and longer range plans.

Look beyond the immediate to the ultimate.
Seek the ultimate by handling the immediate well.

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Last updated January 7, 2002.