By Paul Williams

[Perspective] Look at the big picture

By Paul Williams

Paul Williams is the pastor at First Baptist Church in White Hall and currently serves as president of the ABSC Executive Board.

“Look at the big picture.” I have used this expression many times in speaking to others to encourage them to not get overwhelmed. Personally, I feel it is getting harder to take my own advice. It is harder to look at the big picture when you are feeling distracted and chaotic. It seems the world is on cruise control to self-destruction. There is a sense of apathy arising that definitely alters our perspective.  

My wife and I made a summer trip to Alaska. Planning a bucket list trip was exciting but it could never prepare me for the visions we would encounter. The additional land tours and Denali National Park gave me a greater understanding of the Last Frontier. For someone who had never lived outside of the southern states of Arkansas, Texas, and Louisiana, these views were breath-taking. The terrain was lush with green fields and forests. The mountains were covered with white snow in every direction. The wildlife was reminiscent of the scenes from many TV shows and documentaries.  

One unique adventure was a whale watching trip in Juneau. This would be the first experience Missy and I had to see whales. We traveled on the boat with many others to the location where whales had been sighted. There were a number of boats circling around this area of the bay. We could hear the “radio talk” mention a feeding which brought excitement to the captain. As we positioned ourselves out on the deck, we suddenly saw the open mouths of whales rising out of the sea then closing as they descended. I got some incredible pictures. We learned this was a pod of about twelve to fourteen whales feeding on herring in what is called “bubble net” feeding. The whales would swim below and blow bubbles in a circle creating a “net” which gathered the fish. The whales would swim from below until the fish reached the surface. Then they opened their mouths to swallow as many fish as possible. The whales would then turn downward revealing their tails rising out of the water and then the process would repeat. This experience was unlike anything I had seen and brought a great appreciation for wildlife in Alaska.  

Another picturesque experience of this trip was the view of the glaciers in Glacier Bay National Park. The magnitude of these glaciers was overwhelming. The reality of this huge mass of ice as it carved through the earth was unbelievable. We witnessed a piece break off and crash into the water. The result was a thunderous sound and splashing waves sent throughout the bay. In my experience, ice brings visions of snapped power lines, vehicles sliding into each other and into ditches, as well as tree branches broken like twigs. The glacier experience gave me perspective of beauty and grandeur. A big picture understanding of God’s creation. A sight I will never forget. 

We can all remember moments like these from family adventures and vacations over the years. The memories that bring joy to our lives. I often look back at the photos and videos of this trip to remind me of the feelings and emotions of the trip. In that moment of remembrance, my attitude and feelings are affected. My perspective changes.  

The same can be said for my spiritual journey. There are times I must look beyond my trials and troubles to see the bigger picture of God’s Kingdom. His work is never hidden if we are seeking. The moments I feel discouraged or distracted are when I force myself to stop the busy chaos and remember.  

I remember salvation. I remember forgiveness. I remember the beauty of God’s love and the grandeur of His grace. When I change my focus then I can see the big picture again. God IS at work. God IS bigger than my view.  

Remember the big picture and focus on the beauty of God’s love and His power. Worship and praise Him. 

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3 Responses

  1. Thanks for the insights and appreciation for the grace, beauty and power of God.
    You demonstrated some good writing skills. Keep it up.

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