A good writer brings color and flavor to their story by sharing the details. Not enough and the reader feels like they’ve missed out. Too many and they impatiently think, Get to the point already!
Because if we are honest, very few of us truly care that it was her mom’s friend from college who married the boy who used to have a crush on her sister-in-law that owns the new restaurant on River Street. (Am I right?)
Details are amazing things. They are the finishing touches that make a party wonderful, a wedding memorable, and a vacation unforgettable.
Some people have a knack for them. They love their little To-Do Lists and feel a certain sense of pride and accomplishment when they can check something off. These are the people who make sure that “list” is on their List when their paper supply is getting low and find companionship with the “dotted i’s and crossed t’s” of life.
And then there are the big picture people. They could care less about the details as the end goal is all-consumptive. Now don’t get me wrong, they respect the details because they understand that it is the details that plan successful parties, weddings, and vacations. They just have no desire to get caught up in them because details are messy, cumbersome, and exhausting. And like “Sweet Brown” says, “Ain’t nobody got time for that.”
However, without details, the party would be lame, the wedding embarrassing, and the vacation unforgettable - in the wrong kind of way. And without the big picture, there would be nothing to plan in the first place.
I’m Details who married Big Picture and we make an excellent team.
Recently, I took on some extra responsibilities at church. The big picture was to get our congregation involved in prayer. The details boiled down to organizing and executing creative opportunities to do just that.
One of those opportunities was having Time to Pray, a 24-hr Prayer. And instead of having a sign-up table, I wanted a sign-up wall - complete with 24 clipboards (one for each hour).
After sending an email and getting thumbs-up from the person I needed it from, I set out to make Time to Pray happen.
As the creative juices continued to flow, I had an idea of hanging clocks on the wall - along with the clipboards. I wanted to create a clock collage of all different colors, shapes, and sizes - and 24 of them to be exact (one for each hour).
My approved budget for the clocks was whatever I could beg, borrow, or steal. (And since a Pastor’s wife shouldn’t steal, I resorted to begging or borrowing.)
After sending another email, my team started looking in their living rooms, basements, and garages. Clocks started trickling in.
On Tuesday morning that week, we got all 24 clipboards expertly hung. But as we shifted gears and started hanging the clocks, we unfortunately came up short.
Seventeen, eighteen, nineteen... And even after counting three times, it was still…
I went home a little discouraged. I decided that I needed a broader net. I texted the Staff wives that afternoon, asking if they had any. I came up with three more.
On Wednesday evening, I returned to the church to hang more clocks. I found three that I was counting on, but was still short two.
Now, in the week of my clock-borrowing and hanging, I just so happened to be reading about the building plans for the Tabernacle in Exodus 36 & 37 in my Bible Reading Plan.
There have been seasons in my Bible reading where (if I’m being completely honest) I sit and read the accounts of it was her mom’s friend from college who married the boy who used to have a crush on her sister-in-law that owns the new restaurant on River Street.
I’ve been guilty of checking out or being terribly distracted in those types of chapters because the details neither speak to me nor pertain to me. But out of respect for God’s Word that is living and active, I read the story anyway.
And on that particular Thursday morning with two clocks still missing from the Time to Pray wall, I wondered if God even cared about Clock No. 23 & 24.
I knew my team cared as they had lent everything they had found. I know my Big Picture husband knew it mattered to me when I kept checking my emails and messages and jumping up and down when a clock was made available. I knew my children sensed its importance as they had spent hours with me at church Tuesday morning while we were hanging them “just so.”
But did God care? My faith was being childish and ignorant.
That morning, as I sat reading my Bible in the quiet of my living room, with nothing but the sound of the heater taking the edge off of the chilly air and the kitty purring on my lap, I impatiently thought, Get to the point already!
I had things to do and clocks to hang and didn’t truly care about the dimensions, construction materials, nor color schemes that I was reading about.
Where are you God in this? And where will I find those last two clocks? were closer to my thoughts that morning.
And then I got caught up in the details of Exodus 36 & 37.
As I continued reading, I felt His presence envelope me like a warm blanket.
I’m right here, I felt Him whisper to my soul, right here in the details.
And on that chilly November morning, my faith grew.
I realized that God did care about my desire to see 24 clocks hung on that wall just like He cared about the Tabernacle’s lampstand having almond flowers with buds and blossoms. Intricately hammered. Arranged just so.
I was reminded of other certain accounts where entire chapters have been written, dedicated to the fact that He absolutely cares about the details:
Take Noah in building the ark. (Genesis 6)
Or King Solomon in building the Temple. (1 Kings 5 & 6)
And of course, Moses in constructing the Tabernacle. (Exodus 36 & 37)
I was reminded of Jeremiah 1:5 when God reveals Himself as Details AND Big Picture:
"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
That morning, I repented of my childish, Don’t you care? question that we all whine to God from time to time.
I asked Him to help me see my project through and set about the rest of my day.
To make a rather long story short, the last two clocks were beautifully hung later that day and the clipboards and clocks aided in accomplishing the big picture - the Time to Pray wall got people’s attention…people signed up…and people prayed.
Now, your Clock No. 23 & 24 will look different than mine, but at some point in your life, the big picture will perhaps feel a little too big and the details seem rather messy, cumbersome, and exhausting.
And in those moments, may you remember the God who cares about the details - about the big pictures you’ll plan and the clocks you’ll hang along the way.