Last time, we wrote about God’s promises. Today, we discuss God’s vision. In particular, a vision which He gives us, and helps us to fulfill. As we’ve stressed, God will never give us a work to do which we won’t be able to do. Almost always, it will take the help of others to make it come to pass. But first, we must be willing to follow His direction, His leading. Others will join in the effort as we go, but first, we must be “all in” before we can expect God’s help … or the help of others who will come along beside us.
Another amazing thing about when God calls us to do a great work for Him: It will, almost every time, be something that we feel we can’t do. Our first thought is usually one of fear, that we don’t have the talent or ability to do what He is calling us to do. Chances are, you are right: You don’t have the talent or ability-and you won’t succeed-without His help. But, with every vision He gives us, He gives us whatever we need to make it happen. And, again, that will involve the help of others. Perhaps the greatest example is Moses, who responded to God’s call, immediately, with, “Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?” (Exodus 3:11). God’s answer came just as immediate: “Certainly I will be with thee” (Exodus 3:12). And, then, see if this sounds familiar: Moses, when given his first chance to speak after God had laid out His plan for him, told God, “But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice …” (Exodus 4:1). It’s true, then, just like now, that God doesn’t care about our ability … He cares about our availability … God told Moses, “Now therefore go, and I will … teach thee …” (Exodus 4:12).
God’s vision is so much greater than ours. God can see the end result of our labors, and He will encourage us by allowing us to visualize how things will turn out. In Haggai’s time, the Temple was in ruins, but God saw ahead, to a time when the Temple would be finished. This is why it is so important to be a witness, especially to those we don’t want to be a witness to. I pray every day for God to allow me to see others as He sees them, not as I see them. He sees what they will become; we see what they are now. As the saying goes, when speaking about David, “Man saw a shepherd; God saw a King.” I think that it is just as important to ask God to allow us to see ourselves as He sees us. To allow us to see ourselves, what we are right now, through Him. We see someone who has been broken, whose life is in ruins … but God sees what can be … a Temple, dedicated to His glory.
In Haggai, staring at the rubble of what was left of the Temple, just like our shattered, broken, “ruined” lives, God saw ahead, to a time when He would “fill this house (the Temple) with glory … The glory of this latter house (the Temple) shall be greater than of the former …” (Haggai 2:7-9). When God gives you a vision, He will always show you the end result. I always think of Paul. God showed the Apostle Paul things which, perhaps, He has never shown anyone else. Why? I believe that God showed Paul “the end” in order to give Paul the strength and encouragement to make it through the “now.” In 1 Corinthians 2:9, Paul wrote, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” We know that God had taken Paul up into a part of the Heavens which no man had seen, and shown Paul things which no man had ever seen. I believe for the same reason: Paul, who would suffer so much, would need this strength and encouragement to make it through. By knowing the end, he could make it through the middle. I believe that it is the same way with us. Isn’t it so much “easier” to struggle through hard times now, when we know what the results of our struggles will be? I say this knowing that there is just no way I can image the pain, torture, and persecution which so many of the founders of the early church went through. I also say this knowing that most of us just can’t image the pain, torture, and persecution which Christians are suffering in other parts of the world right now. How can they make it? By knowing the end, regardless of the middle.
God knows that by showing you the end result, how things will turn out, it will encourage, even enable us, to go through what is always the toughest part of any work: The beginning, the middle, the “now.”
We’ll continue these thoughts next time.