You never know what wonderful thing God is doing in the background. Joseph is a great example. He was rejected by his brothers, sold as a slave, unjustly imprisoned, and spent years separated from his homeland. Joseph saw God at work in that awful situation. Joseph was a Romans 8:28 kind of guy. He saw God at work, even in the worst of times.
Why is looking at the big picture important? Big picture thinking is more accurate than short-term thinking. You may have a bad Sunday, but when you look at attendance for the year you find it’s actually up this year. One low day doesn’t negate the positive of an entire year. (And if your congregation contains many college football fans, that may be the cause right there.)
Even if the attendance is down for the year it is imperative that you consider everything. For instance, on that Sunday when attendance is low you might look out and see a person you have faithfully cultivated toward a relationship with Christ sitting in a pew in your church. That’s huge!
In Luke 24, we find two people who were discouraged and sabotaged by short-term thinking. These two had been to Jerusalem. While they were there they heard the news of Jesus’ death. While walking home they expressed these words. “We were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel.” (Lk. 24: 21) All they saw and heard was bad news. They only saw the short-term view.
Jesus opened their eyes to see the big picture. After their encounter with Jesus they jumped up, ran back into Jerusalem, and shared the message they had received. “They rose up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, saying, ‘The Lord is risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon.’” (Lk. 24:33-34).
The central truth of this story is we should seek Jesus’ face, even in the darkest moments of our lives. Jesus can transform darkness into light.
Also, we should anticipate what our Heavenly Father has in store. When Jesus went to the cross no one expected the good news that would occur three days later. God would have the last word in the drama of the cross.
Your temporary dark moment doesn’t negate the faithful life you have lived. Your difficulty doesn’t erase what God is doing behind the scenes. Your discouragement doesn’t tell the true story of your life.
Your life means more than you can ever imagine.