We look at the world we inhabit and try to make sense out of what we see. We are each very interested in our own life, in the circumstances of our immediate family, extended family, and close friends. Many of us are interested in world events, political proceedings, and the economic outlook. We might feel that we have a broad view of things. We see a great variety of people and things, and we see them from different angles. Yet our view could probably be compared to that of a person looking out of a small, ground-level basement window. Yes, we see quite a bit. A number of people cross our line of vision, but we are seeing only a little part of the big picture.
People who see only a limited picture but believe they see everything clearly will often make very poor, and sometimes disastrous, choices. Many have used tobacco, alcohol, or drugs only to find that, “at the last, it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder” (Prov. 23:32). The person who looks in all directions to make sure no one will see his unlawful deed has forgotten that God is watching him at that moment.
In giving us the power of choice and individual personalities, God has given to each of us the responsibility to look after ourselves. However, we tend to be obsessively self-interested and uncharitable. Considering our human frailties, how much do we really see and understand? My needs, my dreams, my disappointments seem of paramount importance, and I feel that they should have preeminence with God. My view of life and its circumstances seems right to me—so right that I expect God to respond accordingly, and I often feel upset if He does not.
God’s view of things is vastly different from ours. He is omnipresent, seeing, filling, and inhabiting every space. He is omniscient, having an infinite awareness of all things. God’s view of every individual and circumstance is perfect. It is always current. The darkness of the surrounding world does not stymie his divine light. “Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee” (Ps. 139:12).
For a bit of a comparison between what we see and what God sees, let us imagine God standing on the observation deck of a tall building. He looks above, below, and about Him with vision totally unobstructed. He sees hundreds of people sitting, walking, jogging, and driving. “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth” (2 Chron. 16:9). He is keenly and fully aware of each person, of the struggles, challenges, hopes, and joys in each life. Each person He sees is of equal importance to Him.
This illustration gives us only the beginning of a comparison between our view and God’s view. He sees every person in the world. What is more, He sees every circumstance, every challenge, every fear associated with every individual.
God is deeply interested in the physical and emotional well-being of every person on earth. He would like each one to live happily, but He sees millions making choices that will lead to despair. “They eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good” (Prov. 15:3).
God is interested even more in the eternal welfare of each individual. His mightiest, most heroic efforts are to direct men to Jesus and salvation. To this end, He uses the voice of the Holy Spirit, the human conscience, the influence of friends, circumstances of life, and various memories and impressions that He brings to our minds.
Often, those circumstances of life that are advantageous to some are detrimental for others. One farmer wants a gentle shower of rain so the newly-planted corn will grow well. His neighbor wants a big rain to replenish the soil moisture profile. Another neighbor prays there will be no rain at all because he has hay cut in his field. After a busy and stressful day, you feel you really need a quiet evening at home, but your brother may need you to visit to help him over a rough spot in his life.
We see God working mightily, in ways that totally bypass our understanding. While my interests are personal, involving my happiness, my health, my bank account, and social matters, God is looking at the bigger picture of the real, long-term good of every individual. Is it any wonder that my restricted basement-window view of life often leads me to desire and request things that God, in his omniscience, will not see fit to provide?
We will never attain to the vision and understanding of God. Yet, we can receive a better, more comprehending view than the one we often have. As we behold “the Lord, sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up” (Isa. 6:1) and truly enthrone Him in our lives, we see a little better what He sees. As we humbly desire a better view of God’s purposes for the security and growth of his church and pray from the heart, “Thy kingdom come,” our vision is broadened that we may see further afield. As we trust our life and future completely into his divine direction and shed some of our earthly selfishness, we receive a glimpse of the big picture that God sees so clearly.
Messenger of Truth, 2019, No. 14