Have you ever personally seen a vision? I don’t mean a vision in the sense that one hallucinates or sees something in the room that is not a part of the material world. Random House Dictionary explains the term “vision” in several ways. Description No. 3 in their 1982 revised edition of the dictionary says a vision is: An experience in which a personage, thing, or event appears vividly or credibly to the mind, although not actually present, under the influence of a divine or other agency. When using the word in a sentence to clarify meaning, they wrote: A vision of the millennium.
I know, I know, I should update my reference library with newer materials, right?
Recently, while praying alone in my room and asking God to help a friend of mine be free of the need to “produce” in this world (money, reputation, honor or esteem), I had a picture appear in my mind’s eye. I have felt for some time that this friend might be fearful of letting go of what has been built through hard work and determination. I understand. Revamping one’s life is scary and the process can be daunting. Attempting such a thing, we wonder if the “us” we will be left with after it is done won’t simply float away or disappear into insignificance. This is especially true of overachieving type-A personalities who abhor change.
As I prayed for my friend and asked God to help his child see that we can let go and survive, maybe even thrive, I had this “vision” or “impression” of a man at the foot of an empty and towering cross. The man was placing in front of the cross the things of this world (homes, cars, vacations, jobs, bank accounts, dreams of future success). As the last item touched the mounting pile, the Lord’s booming voice spoke these words, “It isn’t until you trust me enough to lay it all down, that I can trust you enough to give some of it back.” Immediately, I thought of the parable Jesus taught concerning the talents, a story found in Matthew 25:15-30 and I questioned where I might be found along Materialism Row? Was I in love with this world, or had I become a traveler with Jesus on that grander path to glory?
I want to expound on this text in Matthew’s gospel in a future post to this site, but for now, I’d be interested in what you think. Do you believe in “visions,” and if you do, do you believe they are operating in the church today? Let me know your thoughts and I’ll publish them here (or not. I’ll protect your anonymity, if you ask me to, in which case it would be better to email me).
Joel’s prophetic word in chapter two of his testiment says, “I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.” vs 29 This passage as it appears in biblical context is a promise from the Lord that accompanies his blessing following difficult days. It blesses me just to think how this promise might be lived out among us in the church age. Will wide spread persecution be visited on us, before the visions begin? How can visions assist the church in its mission today? These are the things I’m pondering on this afternoon.