. . . and then some more . . . More life. More Jesus.

How To Find the Bigger Picture

I sit for cappuccino and a butter croissant. Nothing like a late morning snack to get the writing going.


I choose my place carefully so I can see more than just a wall. Someone walking up the stairs to approach the barista and the little cafe part of the Hugendubel bookstore I have loved since the first time I stepped inside.

I sit near the railing that overlooks the main floor. Not much going on today. The barista’s reading a newspaper, at the ready with a Hallo! Or a bitte shoen and a glass for whatever request a new customer might bring.

She’s not real warm. But polite. She chats with customers she recognizes. Not with me, though.

I place my bag on the floor, re-arrange the little table to make room for my mini laptop which I bought for such occasions.

I’m overlooking the beautiful bags that hang by the stairs in the children’s department. Every time I see them, I touch them and dream. My kids would look adorable carrying those bags through these German streets. Or across the world in an airplane. To school in Ohio.

If only they didn’t cost so many euros.

My eyes move beyond the stairs to the wall behind. A mass of book covers from who-knows-how-far-back. Yellows and reds and white and blacks. A few pink ones and purple and blue and brown.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I try to read the titles, but most of them are German, so I can only sort of understand them. Each looks fine on its own, but random at best, were it not for the bigger purpose they serve.

I only see it when I adjust my eyes for the bigger picture. Take a step back to see the whole of the wall-sized display.

Each cover acts as a pixel for the bigger picture. Each serves a purpose for which it did not know it was ever intended. Not to point to themselves but to create something entirely different.

I switch my focus, make it wider and bigger. I must step back to see it, so I do.


That’s when the outline shows through and the individual points fade. The display on the two-story-high wall suddenly becomes prominent in my gaze. The gaze I cannot seem to break.

It’s a man. A poet. An author of long ago.

It’s brilliant, this display. I’m enamored with the detail. That someone could take individual pieces of art and form them into something entirely unexpected. Unintended. Unknown from the first.


That one little piece of art could play a part in one much bigger. Could display a beauty entirely different from the one each author at first intended. That books called Silver Sex and Stop Smoking Stay Slim could play a part in the bigger picture of this silhouette art.

We don’t accomplish anything in this world alone . . . and whatever happens is the result of the whole tapestry of one’s life and all the weaving of individual threads form one to another that creates something.       -Sandra Day O’Connor


I sit across from it, and I can’t stop looking at the details of each book cover. Each color and design and word inside the complete picture that is this wall.

And the deeper truth does not escape me. The truth about real art from the One Who invented it.

I think of the tapestry cliche I’ve heard so many times. The one about the tapestry God is sewing and the whole picture none of us can see.

The truth that minutes make up days and years and whole lives. And the picture God is painting looks altogether different from the one I think I’m drawing. The art on which I work with such desperate intentionality to serve my purpose in these minutes. In these rightnow’s.

I consider His intentions. For this year. This life and every life with whom I intersect.

What if God, the Sovereign Perfect Artist that He is, has an altogether different purpose which I cannot possibly recognize but for the eternal focus He asks me to fix. A complete design He’s got all planned out in which He will use these minutes I call my life? The ones you call yours?

That’s really it, isn’t it? The serving of His purpose. The making of His picture.

The trusting His working of the design He has purposed.

The book cover pixel I create even now. Contributing to the big wall picture He is purposing to draw.

There would be a void without any one of those book covers. A blank hole where there should be color. Because each of them serves to complete the bigger picture.

And faithful calls loud as I realize its importance. Who am I to hold back from the book cover I now paint? In the form of this life. This living and telling and loving and serving. How could I not be faithful to fill this point in the picture God is using me to help paint?

Aren’t we all just pixels in His wall-sized silhouette? He chooses the color and the shape. And I paint as He asks. By living what He gives. Keeping in step with His Spirit. Making lunch for my kids. Typing words on a computer. Giving money to a beggar. Going to coffee with a friend.

When we are faithful with every rightnow, His picture gets more beautiful. More complete.

Living according to the way He gives us, we fill that pixel spot up on that wall. The spot He is saving just for us.

What pixel are you? How will you fill that hole for the whole? How can I encourage you to be faithful even today in this very rightnow?

8 Thoughts on “How To Find the Bigger Picture

  1. Yikes, I am a book cover in a big wall art in a book store in Germany.
    In this right now, I will stop checking my status updates, and go and live my pixels. Great article.

  2. kayesims on March 13, 2013 at 4:52 pm said:

    What a great literal bigger picture!!! Thanks for sharing it so beautifully! I’m gonna’ need to keep this in mind.

  3. Linda on March 13, 2013 at 6:07 pm said:

    LOVE IT !!! Seeing the whole picture isn’t always the most important thing, as you so eloquently said, it is doing our part, following the lead of the artist who is creating and has already created the finished picture is what is important. Thanks for the reminder..great picture!!! 🙂 Can’t wait to go there for cappuccino and the croissant!!

  4. That is one of the best picturers I have ever seen. Very Cool. I read a book recently about God’s picture – they used God’s Story as their theme but it’s the same idea – by Randy Frazee called The Heart of the Story. And it really helped me to see God’s bigger, much bigger picture and how I may be playing a part that I never considered.
    Thanks for sharing.

  5. What a beautiful picture you paint of the majesty of our great God. You remind me afresh of my own smallness, and I am grateful.

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