. Photo by is licensed under CC By 2.0

Since 1993 “rice paddy art” has steadily grown into a popular community pastime in Japan’s agricultural areas. Using areas as large as 3.7 acres (15,000 square meters) farmers plant several varieties of yellow-leafed Kodaimai and “little purple” rice, along with locally grown green-leafed Tsugaru, to create some incredibly large masterpieces. 

The Full Picture

Unfortunately, the individual planters have no idea of the overall plan that they are being directed to execute. At ground level all they can see is that some plants are dark purple, some are pale yellow, and some are lush green. There is no symmetry, pattern, or apparent purpose to what they are doing. Taken from the planters’ eye view there is no meaning to the individual plants.

But farmers also erect towers so that the workers may climb and get a glimpse of the “big picture” and view the meaning of their labors. As they climb the ladder and look down, step by step, a picture begins to come together. Then, when they reach the top, they see the great mosaic that their labors have wrought.

God’s Eye View

Isn’t this like our view of life? The day to day events, actions, and labors of our lives may seem to us as nothing but a confused mix of good and bad, of success and failure. In the middle of our trials and difficulties we cannot see any purpose or meaning to the pleasant and painful. We cannot see the value of the labors God gives us to do, and we certainly cannot make any sense of the tragedies God allows to fall across our paths. We have the “planter’s eye view” and must labor, live, and love by faith – trusting that God will create something beautiful and good out of the bright and dark patches of our lives.

But as we distance ourselves from those painful events and draw higher and higher in our relationship to God, purpose and meaning will begin to appear. As God reveals His purposes, healing and peace will come to our troubled souls.

Of course, we will only see the full picture when we stand hand in hand with Jesus and together look back across our days. For “now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known” (1 Corinthians 13:12). In your sorrows and distress, trust in God – that He will weave all the bright, dull, and dark threads to create a beautiful tapestry for your ultimate good and His glory.



Dear Father in heaven, I commit this day and its events to you. Help me to be mindful of Your presence with me and be thankful for all Your blessings upon me. Grant that I may face today’s challenges in Your strength, trust You for guidance, and place in Your hands my successes and failures to You, to work them all together for my ultimate good. Amen.


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