Cardinals and the Big Picture

The other morning I heard a pair of cardinals whistling to each other. Not only is their red plumage distinctive but so is their song which I’ve sought to mimic ever since childhood. Also unique is the perch from which they warble. In my experience, cardinals always sing from the highest braches of tall trees. Why? I don’t know. Perhaps they enjoy having a panoramic view of the landscape below.
Cardinals can teach us a lesson about perspective. Last Sunday a missionary friend talked about the importance of keeping the big picture in view. He recalled the incredible vista he and his wife enjoyed when they journeyed to an overview at 10,000 feet up in the Alps. He then turned to Luke 24 where Jesus gives his disciples an overview of his mission. “Everything must be fulfilled…The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations” (Luke 24:44,46,47). Not for the first time Jesus reminded his disciples that everything in the Bible will be fulfilled, including his promise that the Gospel would be preached throughout the world.
We need to keep the big picture in mind as we seek to serve Christ Jesus in a world of suffering and injustice. Whatever the setbacks we face, we can be assured that Christ will build his kingdom, the Gospel will spread everywhere, hellish gates will not prevail against it. He will come again. There will be a day of judgment. A new heaven and a new earth will appear.
We would be wise to frequently dip into the big-picture portions of Scripture: Genesis 1,2, Exodus 20, Matthew 5-7 & 28, Romans 8, Ephesians 1, Colossian 1, Revelation…and many more.
Currently we live just a few miles from the shore of Lake Ontario but our house is nestled in a grove of mature trees. We can’t see the lake from our living room window but we know it’s there. The unfolding plan of God is just as real and certain as the existence of Lake Ontario. But we need to keep it in mind lest we lose perspective.


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