I’m beginning to see it, the bigger picture. The bigger picture, in the every day, in the little moments, it’s something we cannot see.
In the moments of pain, of sorrow, of grief. In the moments of disappointment, we just can’t see it. We can’t understand why. We can’t possibly understand what purpose this incredible pain could have. And as I did, so often we find ourselves asking those seemingly unanswerable questions. The ones I’ve written about so much in my blogs. The ones I’ve found myself searching, desperate for the answers to.
The questions of why.
Why did this happen to me?
And so often we find ourselves not only feeling heartbroken that God didn’t stop it, but angry. Angry that he allowed this thing we didn’t feel we deserved to happen to us. Angry that he didn’t use His almighty power to save us from this misery. And questioning why He didn’t love us enough to spare us this heartache.
His answer to that question is that He couldn’t possibly love us more. His love for us is infinite and pure. But just because He loves us doesn’t mean He will always step in.
Could he? Yes. He most definitely could.
But does He always choose to? No.
And we want to understand why.
I’ve asked all of those questions. And for a long time I’ve believed that they don’t have an answer. But over the past few weeks I’ve come to realize that they do.
The answer is the bigger picture. The one we can’t see.
But He sees it.
Jeremiah 29:11 says that He knows the plans He has for me, and that they are for good.
The reason why He allowed life as I know it to be destroyed, the reason He allowed my heart to be shattered, is because He could see the bigger picture. He could see that the pain of that tearing down would allow something better to be built up in its place. He could see that by the testimony of our story, countless others would find hope and healing, and that they would see Him.
Someone told me many years ago that God told them to tell me to read the story of Joseph. That I should read it because God saw me as he saw him, and our lives were very similar. I was intrigued, because what I remembered of Joseph didn’t stand out as anything I saw mirrored in my life at the time.
So I read about Joseph. I read of how he was highly favored. I read of how he was mistreated, and how he was betrayed by the very people that were supposed to love him the most. The people he should have been able to trust. And I read of his forgiveness for those people. And how God took everything that was meant for his harm to bring blessings to his life. To put him in places he never dreamed he would be. To put him in a position to help others.
I read all of that and…
I. did. not. understand.
I thought surely this person was mistaken.
I was NOT AT ALL like Joseph.
No one I loved had hurt me. I couldn’t imagine that anyone I loved would ever betray me the way he was betrayed. No one would toss me in a pit and then make me a slave, throwing away my very sense of self, everything that made me who I am. That kind of thing doesn’t happen to me. There must be some mistake, I thought. That message wasn’t for me.
And so for all these years, I’d had that tucked away. Certain it had nothing to do with me.
The story of Joseph has come back up in my mind on several occasions lately. Most recently in Cindy Beall’s new book.
(Y’all should get that, by the way. “Rebuilding a marriage better than new”. You can order it on Amazon😄)
I know it was not by mistake that she included this story, I know that it was confirmation of what God has been speaking to me over the past few weeks. She wrote about the story of Joseph and how loved he was by God. She wrote about how God did not intervene and allowed all of the terrible things to happen to him. And she wrote about how God redeemed Joseph’s story. How He freed him from slavery and put him in a position of influence that he never would have imagined. How everything bad that happened was used for the good of Joseph, his family, and so many others. She wrote about how if Joseph had not gone through all those painful things, he would never have ended up in the position that he did, where he was able to bring so much goodness to so many.
And now I see it. That story, Joseph’s story, it was not a mistake. It WAS meant for me.
Jeff betrayed me. And I found myself in a virtual pit. A pit filled with despair, sadness, anger, self doubt, and fear.
What he did made me a slave. A slave to anxiety, fear, depression, post traumatic triggers, sadness, insecurity, uncertainty and doubt.
And it all seemed so wrong. So incredibly unfair.
But just as God allowed these things to happen to Joseph, he allowed bad things to happen to me. Not because He didn’t love me. Not because He didn’t want to spare me the heartache. His heart ached too. And just as He was with Joseph, He never left me. He saw me through that heartache. He cried with me in that pit. And just as He did with Joseph, he’s used this awful experience to bring goodness to my life. To bring goodness to my marriage. And He is using my story to help others. So that others can see His goodness and His faithfulness and His love. So that others can see how He makes all things new.
Joseph had a choice. He could choose to let his situation take the very best of him. He could choose to be defeated. He could choose to drown in the misery of the sea of “why me’s?”.
Or he could choose to trust that there was a bigger picture. He could choose to trust that he would see the goodness of God. That the goodness of God would find him, even there, in that pit of despair.
Joseph chose to believe God had his best interest in mind, he chose to believe in the bigger picture.
I’m choosing to believe there is a bigger picture for me too.
There is a purpose in my pain. God will not waste a single one of my tears. He is redeeming my story, and He will redeem yours too. Yours may look different than mine, but in His way, in the way He knows will be the best for you and the good of others, you can count on the fact that it will be redeemed.
We may not understand it, and we may not see it yet, but He sees it.
The bigger picture.
And it’s so much bigger than our minds can even fathom.
His love for us is endless. His mercy and grace for us is matchless.
We can’t be assured that we aren’t going to have pain and heartache in our lives. But we can be sure that He knows the bigger picture. He knows the plans He has for us. And they are always, always good.
We can trust Him.
This revelation has brought me so much peace. I hope it brings you some peace too. ❤️
Amy Thurston Gordy