"Where there is no vision, the people perish;" Proverbs 29:18 "My people perish for lack of knowledge: because thou has rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee," Hosea 4:6 "When you know better, you do better." Maya Angelou.
History is filled with people who had a vision or an idea and who attempted, without success, to do the best they could to bring it to fruition. Then they got some more information, training (knowledge), and more practice; and presto, (maybe not that quickly), they met with success. It took Thomas Edison 1,000 tries before the lightbulb was perfected. He did not give up on his vision. Because of the persistence of inventors like Edison, we have been afforded creature comforts like electric lighting, indoor plumbing, television and cell phones. Many of us are happier as a result; well, if not happy, then at least things are more convenient. We are not going to talk about the downside of progress, lest we digress.
As parents, we sometimes get frustrated by what is "seemingly" a rejection (by our children) of our hard obtained wisdom and perhaps our vision for them. I say "seemingly" because my granddaughter told me that she only acts like she is not listening, but she really is. For the record, acting like you are not listening and not listening are "seemingly" the same to me. (Smile). I know she is going to read this. Anyway, there is a reason why wisdom is to be adhered to; it saves one a lot of grief in the long run. "If I knew then what I know now" has been spoken by many with huge regrets who knew, but did not bother to listen or apply what they knew. My late grandmother has said on numerous occasions: "If you do not listen, you will feel it." Let us examine some visions below.
Missed opportunities and breakthroughs that would have benefited ourselves and others could have been ours had we just listened and followed through. We might have even saved ourselves some suffering. Let's look at Jonah, for example. Jonah was a prophet who ran away from God. One night in a dream, God said to him, "Arise, Go to Nineveh, the great city and cry against it, for their wickedness has come up before me." When Jonah heard this he was afraid. He headed (out of town) for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship headed for that port. After paying his fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord. Jonah 1-4. So much for catching the vision! To summarize the rest of the story, God sent a great wind to the sea and such a violent storm arose that threatened to destroy the ship and the sailors and everyone else on board. After throwing some cargo overboard with no alleviation of the problem; it became apparent at one point that Jonah was the problem. He was thrown overboard where he spent three nights in the "yucky" (what else could it be?) belly of a big fish before he finally grasped the vision. In Jonah's case, he decided to dismiss the vision because of what he knew about the sinful people of Nineveh and God's forgiving nature. What he forgot, was who asked him to go. Let's move on. He ultimately did as he was told in the dream, and the people of Nineveh repented and were spared destruction. I heard a preacher once say, "God's calling on your life is irrevocable. If you run away from God, His grace will come looking for you." It's something to think about.
I can almost visualize the tongue wagging and hear the whispers when the Lord commanded the prophet Hosea to marry Gomer (a lady of the night). Who thought this was a good idea? God did. The people of Israel needed a visual of what their character/actions revealed about their relationship with God; sinful, idolatrous, and unfaithful. Yet, God loved them in spite of their behavior. Hosea warned Israel about breaking their covenant with God and the tragic consequences to follow. Through Hosea's obedience, he learned to love and to cherish a woman who had been unfaithful to him and whom he redeemed when she had become estranged from him; just like God did with the children of Israel. Hosea 3:1-5. Mission accomplished. Hosea lived out the vision.
Noah took over a hundred years to build an ark, as commanded by the Lord to do. He warned the people that it was going to rain and the resulting destruction. Imagine the belly laughs and jeers he drew as the years passed, and rain did not come. Ridicule did not deter Noah's drive to build the ark as instructed. When the rain did come, those mockers perished and Moses and his family were spared. He caught the vision and passed it on. To their peril, many just did not accept it. Genesis 5:32-10:1.
We can define vision as a plan for your life and the desire to pursue it. There are varied ways in which we receive a vision, but it is still incumbent on us to make the vision a reality when we believe and/or understand that this is where we are being led; to a more fruitful and productive life. Some dreams can be prophetic and misunderstood by the dreamer and others. For example, Joseph told his brothers about his dream, and they hated him afterwards. "He said to them, "Listen to this dream I had: We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it. His brothers said to him, "Do you intend to reign over us? Will you actually rule us?" And they hated him all the more because of his dream and what he had said." Genesis 37:6-11. They eventually sold him into slavery. This still did not end the vision.
In biblical times, God revealed many things through visions. In the scripture noted above: Proverbs 29:28, it is saying explicitly that where there is no prophetic vision or revelation from God, the people cast off restraint, no longer
faithfully interpreting God's word and His Laws. In other words, when the people were no longer guided by hearing from God through God's messengers and/or through studying his word, they lost control of themselves. Aimless.
Well, the truth is we still need vision to plan for achieving goals. You need to know where you are going in order to get there.
What do you envision for your life? How do you plan to get there? Is the path clear?
1. How did you arrive at your vision? In current times, we have more options to fulfill what we believe is our destiny. To accomplish anything you must first have a mission, a goal, a vision, a hope. "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail." It is possible that all of your life you have had a calling to enter a particular field or perhaps you were born with a particular gift and/or talent. Perhaps your parents and/or a teacher believed in a vision for your life. Some people study and realize that they have an affinity for a given vocation, and some people pray and ask God to reveal His vision for their lives. Either way, some deep thought and directed actions have to take place in order for the vision to be clear enough to pursue. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had a dream, a dream born out of racial injustice. He dreamed about total equality for mankind. That vision came with a high cost to Dr. King and the nation. Yet, he took on the challenge. It turned out to be his calling, and while this vision has not been fully realized, we are better as a people because of his dedication and sacrifices. We have made tremendous strides, and we are still pursuing the dream. Remember, we are all here for a purpose! Jeremiah 29:11
2. What steps are you taking to go from abstract to concrete? Without a plan, we wander without aim, we procrastinate, and we risk not reaching our fullest potential. Why? Because we fail to catch the vision. It may be that we do not believe that we are capable of accomplishing what appears to be out of our reach. We let our fear of failure overcome us. Or, we do not want to put the time and effort into obtaining the vision. We, in a sense, "perish" because we do not own the vision. The first step is to acknowledge that this vision is for you. The next step is begin to follow through by getting whatever training, preparation., etc., needed to capture the vision; and then create a plan and fastidiously execute it. Proverbs 29:18. You see when God began to prepare Joseph to be the second in command to Pharaoh, He started by showing him a dream, noted in scripture above. The dream implied that Joseph would be in a high position. His brothers would have to come to him later on for their physical survival even though it was not clear at the time. (Read about it in Genesis 37). When Joseph shared the vision, his brothers resented him (the bowing down really ticked them off), and Joseph did not understand the powerful position that he would be in. But, God put Joseph through a series of harsh experiences (starting with Joseph's brothers throwing him into a pit and leaving him for dead; until they came up with a "better" plan and decided to sell him into slavery) that would later prepare him for a very important leadership role. Preparation is key; and so is the right attitude. 1 Thessalonians 5:18.
3. What about those around you who cannot see you realizing the vision for your life? Now this is really important, so listen up. Let's say that you have accepted that you have a vision for your life; one that you believe is right for you and one that you believe God has sanctioned and then here comes those who want you to believe that you are delusional. Maybe that is a bit rough; let's just say that there are some around you who just can't see you in a particular light. In their opinion, you do not measure up. While this can be disconcerting, it should not be the end to your vision. That's because you are going to pray and keep moving. Some people are too close to see the greatness (or anything else for that matter) in you. But, not to worry. I recently heard a preacher tell a story about a tourist looking for the Empire State Building. He asked someone where it was. The person replied, "look up, you are standing right in front of it." His point was that he was too close to see it. Someone else's lack of seeing you as capable does not mean that you are not. Know that what God has for you, it's yours, no one can take it away nor stop you from receiving it. Isaiah 54:17
Get on with your vision! Do better!! God is blessing you to be a blessing to someone else!
I want to say a heartfelt thank you! And a sincere God bless you! to those who have shown their support for me by signing up for the First Annual in Search of Living Conference Retreat being held on Saturday, October 26, 2019. The response has been great. Remember, there is still time. Get your payment in by no later than October 5, 2019. So appreciative to those who took advantage of the early bird special.
God has truly been good to me! I am humbled and grateful. Living my blessed/best life!!!! So can you!
Note: I will repost flyer about the upcoming Conference Retreat, and you can always send comments to me at firstname.lastname@example.org