Seeing the Bigger Picture (#561)

Often our view of life is limited by our self focus that we miss the way God is working around us.  eis so limited by it's self-focus, when God is wanting to open our eyes to his Brad gets shaken down by the federales in Mexico in a recent family trip there, which opens a discussion with Wayne about fairness and the violation we feel when those with power over us use it to exploit rather than serve. But "might makes right" is the way the world has worked through most of it's history. While we all have a passion for fairness when we're being taken advantage of, few complain when they have the advantage over others. No wonder Jesus told us to treat others the way we want to be treated, it is th only way for us to find fairness. Then they discuss the recent movie release, Arrival, which surpassingly had a lot to say to both of them about the way God works in the world. (NOTICE:  Plot spoilers here. You may want to see the movie first if you don't want the boys to ruin it for you.)

Podcast Notes:
The Shack Trailer
There's still room to join Brad and Wayne on The God Journey Israel Tour, departing January 22 to Jordan, or January 25 to Israel
You can find our latest update on our work in Kenya here.
Add your voice to our question/comment line via Skype at "TheGodJourney"


  1. Another timely podcast Wayne and Brad. In fact, I just came back from purchasing a pair of pants, thinking I would get a deal, but instead feeling I paid too much. You are absolutely right Wayne, when the shoe is on the other foot, we don’t feel the pain at all. I need to realize that this may very well be a win-win…the store makes a profit and stays in business, and I get a nice pair of pants out of the deal.

    Wayne, if you want to keep from getting picked for jury duty, just say, ‘Of course the defendant is guilty, why else would we be here (lol).

    In talking about the Arrival movie, a Bible verse came to my mind, 2 Corinthians 4:17. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. Sometimes I think all I am is my pain. In my better moments I realize the time I have on Earth is nowhere near the time in Eternity.

  2. Brad:
    Your Mexican experience is the day-to-day experience of Blacks in USA and that of the First Nations in my own backyard.

  3. This quote seems timely with this podcast. Just read it this morning as an excerpt from a book others have recommended to me: The Crucifixion: Understanding the Death of Jesus Christ
    Fleming Rutledge (Eerdmans)

    “When affluent white Americans think of heaven, we tend to think of celestial serenity, natural beauty, and family reunions. Black Americans and other disadvantaged groups would be much more likely to think of God’s promise that there will be ultimate justice. For anyone who has suffered great wrong, it is important to know, as the book of Revelation promises so wondrously, that all wrongs will be righted (Rev. 21:3–4).

    “To be sure, most people, of whatever color, tend to be intensely interested in justice when it is for themselves. It is the notion of justice for all that is missing from much of our public discourse. People turn out for justice when the issue is something that affects them directly, but it is difficult to generate public enthusiasm to support justice for somebody else, or some group other than one’s own. The civil rights movement was an authentic miracle of God’s justice because it managed to mobilize significant numbers of people from various constituencies. Unfortunately, this is rare. Apathy and lack of caring for others have something to do with this; determination not to lose one’s privileges may be a larger motivator.”

    Great stuff!

  4. So awesome listening to this podcast and hearing I wasn’t the only one moved by the same parts in the movie “Arrival”! I won it in a coin toss with my wife as we couldn’t decide which one to watch . It is so fun hearing you guys exploring the very thoughts I’ve been pondering during and since watching it ! I love especially much the each of us having a piece part of your discussion and as we freely share with each other we all benefit but if we keep it to ourselves it quickly becomes a weapon to wield . With this way of looking at our different perspectives They become valuable instead of in the way!

  5. Great movie with a great plot looking at the very real complexities of life, love and loss. If you knew the end before the beginning, would you still choose to live it? The character in the Arrival choose to live it, in spite of the pain and loss she was knew she was going to experience. At this point I am not sure if I would choose the same thing as the character. God’s love and presence is not presently such a revelational reality for me to want to go through life again feeling the same pain of loss. Maybe in the future this will change. However, I speculate given the choice right now, I would not choose to do it all again…
    Presently, I find talking about God’s love angering and at times. It sometimes seems like a great big set up for more heartache and disappointment. The reason I find it disappointing is that it is portrayed by many as this wonderful place to live in, but continues to remain an elusive theoretical dream that I have not found. The more I search for it…or wait for it…want it…or whatever, the more hopelessness grows that this “reality” will not be my reality.
    Perhaps this will all change and greater place of living loved will emerge, but not yet…

    • Hi Jim. My heart goes out to you and others who feel as if talk of Father’s affection is just that… talk! I can’t imagine a more frustrating and hopeless place to be. But that still doesn’t make it true. My prayer is that it does change and that he wins your way into his affection as well. I think God’s heart of love goes out to us all and yet I understand how difficult it can be to see that through persistent pain and disappointment. But it is nonetheless true and I hope you come to discover that sooner rather than later.

      The thing that I’ve contemplated since ARRIVAL, is that it does express God’s heart so well. Knowing what our broken creation would cost him, he still chose it. He could have prevented things from every going awry and the heartache that he must endure every day with all the pain and tragedy in our world, plus what it would cost the Trinity itself at the cross, must mean there is an awesome joy beyond this world. For Amy’s character in the movie, the tragedy was the end of it. ForGod the tragedy was only the beginning….

  6. Thanks, Wayne.
    I hope it is true too… Because if it is not, then I am afraid I have been pursuing for 24 years a mythological being no more real than Santa Clause. My intellect says that God and His love is true, because I have found no other sentiment as life giving as the life and words of Jesus. However, I no more know of His affection, than I could know of a person’s love and affection for me if I read a book they wrote about their love and affection towards me; reading about His love and affection, and experiencing it are two different things. As you know…
    “an awesome joy beyond this world” sounds soooo good!

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