by Nan Corbitt Allen
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28 NASB
Neo-Impressionist French painter Georges-Pierre Seurat (1859-1891) developed a technique in art called pointillism. The pictures on the canvases he created look optically complete and most pleasing. His most famous example of pointillism is A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.
This painting was not made with broad strokes of the artist’s brush, but with thousands of tiny dots. Each dot is a pure color ingeniously added to the canvas one at a time so that they blend into an image when viewed from a distance. This is a classic case of “art imitating life”—for life isn’t lived in grand broad strokes or big events. It is a collection of tiny specks—ordinary people, underwhelming places, and forgettable things. Each of these may seem individually irrelevant, but when examined under a spiritual microscope, these minutiae create a portrait that can only be realized when seen from a distance—from God’s point of view.
Since the beginning of 2020, I have heard many vow that this new decade will be the one in which they will see everything clearly—20/20—like visual acuity of clarity and sharpness. It is a noble pursuit. However, being able to see what this decade, this year, or even this day will bring is impossible. Our lives are mostly made up of one mundane (but sometimes unexpected) event after another.
Taking a lesson from Seurat, let’s realize that we’re seeing only those minute dots of day-to-day that don’t seem significant at all. In the here-and-now it’s hard to grasp the big picture. But the Master Artist, God Almighty, Alpha and Omega can see the whole thing. In Revelation John records the words of Christ, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end” (Rev. 22:13 NASB).
I like to think of God’s plan for me as constantly “unfolding” like the pages of a book or the petals of a flower. That’s why the Scripture at the beginning of this devotion has become so important to me. The psalmist writes, “As your plan unfolds, even the simple can understand it” (Psalm 119:130 TLB ). I’m pretty simple, so I get it.
Several writers (Emerson and T. S. Eliot to name two) have been quoted as saying something like “Life is a journey, not a destination.” Or “The journey, not the destination matters …” Our journeys are made up of one heartbeat, one step at a time, so the tiny dots of every day create the grander, broader picture. And not one of those dots is insignificant.
If I may, I’ll take a slight liberty with Paul’s words on the subject:
And we know that God causes all [little] things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28 NASB
About the author: Nan Corbitt Allen has written over 100 published dramatic musicals, sketchbooks, and collections in collaboration with Dennis Allen, her husband of 40 years. A three-time Dove Award winner, Nan’s lyrics and dramas have been performed around the world. Dennis and Nan have sold almost 3 million choral books.
Nan and Dennis live in Cleveland, GA where she teaches English and Creative Writing at Truett McConnell University. They have two grown sons and two beautiful grandchildren.
Nan’s book, Small Potatoes @ the Piggly Wiggly, is a collection of devotionals that reveal the great impact seemingly insignificant, routine experiences can have in our lives. She describes what she learned of God’s providence and wisdom while growing up in the Deep South in the 1950’s and 60’s.
Join the conversation: Have you had an experience in which you suddenly understood how the dots fit together?