The Big Picture

By Chris Baxter

I walk a lot of golf courses. My son Davis plays for the University of Cincinnati so my husband Mac and I try to attend the tournaments that are reasonably close to home. On the golf paths, in the midst of beautiful scenery, I have learned to pray, and pray, and pray. Most of the time it’s not even about the golf that I’m watching; I just like to take advantage of this allotted time to pray for family, friends, and life issues–really, whatever the Lord brings to mind.

BUT, before I sound too holy, I must confess, I do have a competitive streak in me that rises and falls as I tenaciously watch the direction of Davis’ little white golf ball. It’s crazy how fervently I can sometimes find myself pleading with the Lord for a par, or better yet, a birdie. One time when I was in this desperate state, staring at the ball as if I could personally “will” it into hole, my eyes changed focus to a large tree that stood in the background just behind Davis. I then heard in my heart these Spirit-led words, “Chris, remember, I’m always about the big picture.”

Ah, yes, in each of our lives, let us remember, God is always about the big picture. Just like a tree begins as a seed, then in due time, it becomes a sapling, and over years of growth, it becomes a sturdy and mature work of art, so we too, are His workmanship (Ephesians 2:10). He always has Your best interest at heart, even when things temporarily seem right or left of center.

If you’re in the midst of a harder season right now, let His word encourage you:

He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6

No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly. Psalm 84:11

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you, and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge him, and He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

I admit, it’s hard to let go of my immediate desire for things to go exactly the way I want it to go, at the exact minute I want it to happen (the ball in the hole!). But I must remember and trust, that

The little fickle ball vs. the large sturdy tree

in the long run, the Lord’s “big picture” will be a far better work of art, more than anything I could have momentarily willed myself.

Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8

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Daily Prayer

Submissive hearts

But Peter and the apostles answered, "We must obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins."  Acts 5:29-31

Dear Lord,

You are our Leader and you are our Savior. Give us a heart to obey you. Help us to stand on your truths, follow in your footsteps, and live the way you taught us in your word.  We ask for your wisdom before we speak and act, and we ask for your blessing as we respond to those who are in opposition to you. Amen.