In recent weeks Dawn and I have had a number of conversations with folks seeking to determine God’s plan and purpose for their life. They are grappling with God’s vision for their lives.
Seeing their restlessness and “holy discontent with the status quo” has caused me to think back on the days when we were in a very similar position…
In the mid-90s Dawn and I began sensing a call to vocational ministry. At the time I was managing a physical therapy clinic in Statesboro, Ga. The desire and longing to do what I was most passionate about was overwhelming. It felt as though God couldn’t move fast enough in opening a door for us to pursue ministry as a career.
Our home church, Fletcher Memorial Baptist, had an opening for a youth ministry position. I applied for the job. In all honesty, I didn’t even like youth ministry, but I was so desperate to work in a church, I was willing to do anything. After interviewing for the position (with some of my closest friends on the search team), I was told I was not the right person for the job.
I was crushed. As I could see it, this position was the only entry point into ministry. If not this position, there were no other options. At least, that’s how I saw it. About the same time, while reading my Bible, I came across this passage…
“Then the LORD answered me and said, ‘Record the vision and inscribe it on tablets, that the one who reads it may run. For the vision is yet for the appointed time; it hastens toward the goal, and it will not fail. Though it tarries, wait for it; for it will certainly come, it will not delay.” Habakkuk 2:2,3
God had given me and Dawn a vision. There was no doubt vocational ministry was in our future. He had confirmed it in our hearts individually, He had confirmed it in our hearts as a couple, and He was confirming it through believers in the church with statements like, “I could see you and Dawn doing that….”
The vision had an appointed time though. There was a, “Yes, but not yet…” aspect to the vision. If this vision were truly of God, there was no way it was going to fail. While it tarried, my and Dawn’s role was simply to wait patiently.
What about you? What has God given you a vision and passion for? What burdens your heart? What could you see yourself giving the remainder of your life to? If time, talents, and treasures were not an issue for you, what would you love to do?
Your answer to those questions will often reveal the vision God has developed for your life. So, what do you do in the meantime while you await the fulfillment of the vision? Here’s a few suggestions…
- Record the vision. Keep a journal. Write the vision down. Record the impressions God gives you about the vision. This process helps you fine tune the vision. It helps solidify the vision in your heart and mind.
- Return to the vision. In times of doubt and discouragement (these times will come), go back to what you recorded. Read it again. Read it over and over. Let it sink in. Allow what God said to you in previous days to strengthen you in your weak days.
- Understand the vision may take longer than you think. In all likelihood it will take longer than you think. Don’t let that reality discourage you. Don’t lose heart. Don’t give up. Continue preparing yourself for the fulfillment of the vision.
- Wait for the vision. If God birthed the vision, it will come to pass. Don’t try to rush it. You’ll only regret a rushed vision.
The “No” I received from Fletcher regarding the youth ministry position was the best “No” I have ever received in my life. I didn’t think so at the time. It stung. I was wounded. It was a bit humiliating. Yet, that “No” forced me to wait for the fulfillment of God’s vision for my and Dawn’s life instead of running head-long with the vision I had for our life.
- Do you believe God has a vision for your life? If not, why not?
- Have you heard God speak to you about His vision for your life? If so, what are you doing about it?
- If you’re waiting on the fulfillment of God’s vision for you, how can you make the most of the “in between” time right now?