The Bigger Picture
In the early years of the Second World War, Nazi Germany had developed a code machine which they called "the Enigma." It was highly sophisticated for that era, and the German high command thought the Allies would never be able to break the code. But in one of the greatest intelligence coups of all time, the Allies learned the secret of the Enigma machine, without the knowledge of the enemy. This gave the Allies an enormous advantage. But they knew that they could not allow the Nazis to learn that their machine had been compromised. This was perhaps the most closely-guarded secret of W.W.II. On one occasion the cryptographers intercepted and decoded a message indicating that the Nazis had learned of a secret schedule and route of an Allied airplane carrying a top military figure and his staff. The Nazis intended to blow the plane out of the sky. The Allied leaders were faced with a dilemma: Warn the plane back and let the enemy know their code was broken OR let the plane continue to certain doom and retain the most valued secret. The gut-wrenching decision was made - let them destroy the plane and the officers aboard! How could the Allied leadership justify such a decision? Simply because they were looking at the "bigger picture." As a point of fact, the Nazis never learned that their Enigma had been compromised and the Allies knew Germany's plans before they were executed and were thus able to respond advantageously. No telling how many months or years the war was shortened or how many lives were saved as a result of that dreadful decision. Some historians have speculated that the final outcome of the war might have been different had we not maintained the secret of the Enigma.
Being able to see "the Bigger Picture," in a perfect way, is a characteristic of God's omniscience. This is one of the most important lessons seen in the Book of Job: when God allows human suffering, He is always taking into account the Bigger Picture. In the first two chapters we read of God's statement of confidence in Job, Satan's denial and challenge, and God's agreeing to allow Satan to afflict Job. We know about that conversation between God and Satan. But, as far as we can determine, Job himself never learned the reason, yet God expected him to remain faithful. That's the greatest challenge of all: when God allows Satan to afflict us, we need to have enough confidence in the sovereignty and integrity of God to understand that there is a Bigger Picture involved which God alone can see.