The Big Picture
Imagine if you happened upon an old scrap of paper. It was a few verses from the Bible, but you didn’t know that. In fact, in this alternate world, you had never heard of Jesus before. Imagine if this short excerpt of Scripture was from Mark 15:16-32, the account of Jesus crucifixion. As you read this passage you learn of a man, you don’t know his name though. Perhaps he wasn’t that important in the long run. This man appeared to try and make himself king. He opposed the rulers of the day, but was caught. He was beaten and mocked the guards. Any followers this unnamed man had have now all fled–there isn’t a single person there showing support. The passers-by mock him, the religious leaders mock him, even the two other criminals sentenced to die with him mock him. As you read this passage you undoubtedly would get the impression that this man’s life was an utter failure. You return the scrap of paper and think, “wow, what tragic life” and then perhaps you never remember that story again.
Without the whole story you would never know that this man’s name was Jesus. That his life would change the course of history. That over the course of two thousand years there would be several billion people who would call themselves Christians. You see, it’s important to know the whole story.
I wonder if we too often live our lives like that person who only found a scrap of the Scripture story. We focus so much on our present circumstances that we miss the bigger story. We don’t put our days, our months into the context of our life, and more importantly into the context of how God is working in the world. Instead, we feel the temptation to evaluate our lives by only looking at our present situation.
Perhaps you are struggling with some event in your life, and you feel like God is silent. But remember, God was completely silent in this passage of Mark. Perhaps you feel like you’ve been forgotten, in this passage, we are never given Jesus name. But just as this one section of Mark is not the end of the story of Jesus’ life, neither are your present circumstances the end of your story.
Perhaps, instead you feel like everything is going really well, you’re finding success in this life, you're having fun, and honestly you don’t feel the need to have much, if any, relationship with God. Well this passage serves as a warning for you too. The Roman Soldiers, the religious leaders, the masses, they too thought they were doing just fine–they didn’t need what Jesus offered. But this passage wasn’t the end of their story either. They would eventually see how wrong they were.
Whatever you're facing, I’d encourage you to put your days into perspective, to step back and look at the whole picture. To remember that neither your suffering nor success, is the end of your story.