Seeing God in the Picture
Last Sunday I gave someone a lift to Culbokie, on the Black Isle, and on the return journey I was suddenly struck by the awesome scene in front of me. As I drove down the hill, I turned a corner and was met by a spectacular vista of snow-capped mountains, reflecting the low sunshine of late afternoon. The natural instinct is to pull over and get a photo of such a scene but the advice of Bryan Draper, the guest speaker at a retreat I attended recently, flashed into my mind: rather than rush to take a picture, and all the fiddling around with camera settings etc., imagine yourself in that scene. God made this beautiful landscape and at this moment of time, as he looks on it, he also sees you as part of the picture. So, that is what I did and found it very humbling to sit in a layby and contemplate our great creator, who made the snow-capped mountains for his Glory and I am a part of his creation.
Later in the week and another beautiful scene unfolded before me. We were sitting in my daughter’s living room and, through the window, the sky turned the most amazing colours with the setting sun. On this occasion, I grabbed my phone and rushed outside to take a picture. (It accompanies this blog on our website and Facebook pages) I wanted to share that scene and sometimes that can be an appropriate thing to do. After all, I enjoy seeing other people’s pictures of God’s great handiwork.
These two descriptions, of God’s wonderful creation, use words such as awesome, beautiful and we choose many others such as spectacular, majestic, etc., to describe the wonder of creation. However, there is another scene which has dominated my thoughts these past few days. On Wednesday evening I called in to Raigmore Hospital to visit one of our dear friends, from many years at Bite N’ Blether. I was saddened to find him in the Intensive Care Unit, wired up to various life supporting devices, with not long left to live. I was also very moved, and felt privileged to feel a part of, for a few short moments, a good number of his family members, gathered around his bed. Sadly, he died shortly after that but while I was there someone asked me to pray with them so I did. It’s a special privilege to represent God at times like this.
In the first scene, that I described, I am reminded that I am part of God’s bigger picture. He is much bigger than me. In the second scene, I remind myself that there is also a time and place to tell of God’s Glory. In the third scene; I am reminded that God is there, right there around that hospital bed. As he was in the baby in a manger in a humble stable. As he was on a Cross, at Calvary, carrying our grief and our pain. There is a time and place to remind people of that and as we prayed around Barnie’s bed, a gentle reminder, that God is here, was made clear.
However, the important thing is being there. Sometimes ministry is just presence. Sometimes few words are needed. Being there is a gentle reminder that Jesus Christ is here. He sits with you in your grief. He walks with you through your bereavement. He listens to your cries. We can be in the beautiful vistas of life, as part of the big picture. We can also be part of the picture, the scenes of sorrow and grief, wherever there is need in our communities today. Practise then the presence of Christ, wherever you go, as he is with you.
All Things Bright and Beautiful
- Refrain: All things bright and beautiful, All creatures great and small, All things wise and wonderful: The Lord God made them all.
- Each little flow’r that opens, Each little bird that sings, He made their glowing colors, He made their tiny wings.
- The purple-headed mountains, The river running by, The sunset and the morning That brightens up the sky.
- The cold wind in the winter, The pleasant summer sun, The ripe fruits in the garden, He made them every one.
- The tall trees in the greenwood, The meadows where we play, The rushes by the water, To gather every day.
He gave us eyes to see them, And lips that we might tell How great is God Almighty, Who has made all things well.
 By Cecil F. Alexander