Whoever said April was the cruelest month never met May 2015. Weather reports that make Chicken Little sound like a meteorologist: “The sky is falling!” Bad news from all corners. A general air of distress.
God sees it all. But God sees more than we do, too. Consider the old canard (I paraphrase): What the caterpillar considers the end of the world, the butterfly calls life. Or something like that. Yeah, it’s not a big comfort to the caterpillar, but it speaks to what God sees. God is a big picture person.
Consider a masterpiece of pointillism, like Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte. Focus in on the face of one of the figures, Ferris Bueller-style. Skin becomes dots of tan, brown, pink, white. We are those dots. Yes, we are each eminently important, but what we all comprise together is more so.
What each of us dots considers a tragedy may be only a tiny portion of what an overview might show us to be a miracle. Don’t get me wrong. God loves each and every one of us dots. God loves us in our infinite, dotty uniqueness. But God can see further than we can.
What if IS is just a dot in the bigger picture of Islam? What if — long view — they don’t matter much because what they say and stand for is a distortion of the faith they claim to embrace? What if death is a blade of grass among millions? How tragic can our tragedies be when put into this kind of perspective?
One of my favorite Laurie Anderson songs talks about a dream she had about a horde of people, each crying out, “Look at me! Look at me!” It’s what we dots do. We want our triumphs to be recognized, our hurts to be acknowledged and nursed, our differences to be celebrated. This world is not a great place for that.
But God sees. God sees and loves each tiny dot, while also seeing the masterpiece we are a part of. Because of course the work of God is a masterpiece! We forget that sometimes by wallowing in our own bad patch of happenstance.
I’m not saying you ought not to feel sad sometimes, or angry, or hurt. I’m not saying that what happens to you doesn’t matter. I’m merely suggesting that as awful as the “right now” is, the long view might be just fine. Great, even. Give your burdens to God and watch what happens to them.
God doesn’t expect us to see what God sees, and that’s a good thing. But God wants us to know that God’s-self is on the case. God’s looking at the big picture, and it’s lovelier than any work of art on earth. Sometimes it helps to remember that.