They had some issues with . . . a certain Jesus who had died but who Paul claimed was alive. 


If someone “can’t see the forest for the trees,” it means they are so involved in the details of a problem that they have lost sight of the situation as a whole.   Well, if anyone had reason to get caught up in the “trees” of a situation, it was Paul.   He had been accused by some of the Jewish leaders of stirring up riots and desecrating the Temple.   Arrested and put in jail, he spent two years in custody under the procurator Felix and was now standing before his successor, Festus, facing the same charges.   You can imagine all the details of his situation swirling in his mind day after day while he sat in prison.

But Paul had built his life on Jesus, so the “trees” didn’t block his vision.   As he strove to stay close to the Lord, he was able to see beyond the details of his trials.   He saw God’s faithfulness and protection.   He experienced Jesus’ love and mercy.   He saw his captors as being in the dark about Jesus, just as he had been, so he avoided hating them.   He saw all the people who had never heard the gospel and longed to share it with them.

Our lives may be filled with the “trees” of trials—or maybe just the trees of a busy schedule and concerns about our loved ones.   But like Paul, we can learn how to see the whole forest.

Just what is this forest?   It’s the expansive heavenly vision that the Holy Spirit wants to give us.   It’s remembering that our world is filled with God’s wonders and marvels.   It’s remembering that every act of love reveals another facet of our gracious, creative God.   It’s the ability to enjoy the blessings of family and home that we do have rather than focusing on the things we may be lacking.   It’s the decision to love our holy, beautiful Church even as we acknowledge the need for reform and renewal.

Don’t get caught up in the details!   Don’t let the trees wear you down!   Let God fill you with his panoramic vision.   Make it a point every day to stand back and rejoice in all the blessings that Jesus has given you.

“Jesus, open my eyes to see the work you have already done in my life.”

Psalm 103:1-2, 11-12, 19-20
John 21:15-19


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