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Keeping Vision Alive

Blog -> Bible



Exodus 3:11 And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt? 

We're currently enjoying our summer break, so I'm thankful that I can spend some extra time with the kids, playing, swimming,... And of course, also some extra time reading Bible together.

As much as we think that "we are reading the Kids Bible for the kids" I'm amazed how much God actually speaks to us as we try to teach the Bible in a kids-friendly way. That's exactly what happened yesterday as we read the story of Moses again.

God obviously had a HUGE plan for Moses. He was to be the one that God would use to lead His people out of Egypt, bringing them into the promised land. God's plan was already pre-written. He knew the importance of Moses' leadership years later. I have a feeling that the devil knew that too. I don't have any bibilical evidence for this, but my gut feeling tells me that the devil knew exactly how important Moses would become. Either that, or the devil simply wanted to annihilate the Israelites completely, the make sure that God's plan would not come true. Whatever the reason, the devil tries to work through Pharao to kill all the Israelite boys that are being born.

Exodus 1:22 And Pharaoh charged all his people, saying, Every son that is born you shall cast into the river, and every daughter you shall save alive. 

Now it was right during this time when Moses was born. Looks like a big problem. God has a special plan for a young baby who would be killed as soon as the Egyptians would notice his existence. Seems like a hopeless situation, right? 

Well, God is bigger than that. The mother hides him for three months, then puts him in a basket in the river. Pharao's daughter finds him, loves him, and adopts him. But before he lives with her, she brings him back to his mother to nurse him to a certain age. 

Amazing. God turned the hopeless situation completely around. Moses is not only protected from death, but now enjoys the rights and privileges of being the son of Pharao's daughter. 

So, many years later, we have another amazing story: The Burning Bush. Moses is at Mount Horeb (which is Mount Sinai where he will later receive the 10 commandments). He just goes about his business, keeping watch over the sheep of his father in law. Suddenly, God speaks to him through a bush that is on fire but doesn't burn up. God shares with Moses the vision He had for him from the beginning of time: Take my people out of Egypt. Moses response is pretty much the same that I have unfortunately given to God too many times: 

Exodus 3:11 And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt? 

Exodus 4:1 And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The LORD has not appeared unto you. 

He feels inadequate. But he's not done with his excuses. The last one sounds a lot like me:

Exodus 4:13 And he said, O my Lord, send, I pray you, by the hand of another whom you will send. 

So this time Moses himself feels he's not the right person. But does that prevent God from having His plan? No! Moses eventually puts his trust in God's promise, does what God tells him to do. And throughout the next 40+ years he leads the Israelites not only out of Egypt, but also through the wilderness right to the border of the Promised Land, where Joshua would then take over to bring them in. 

What struck me reading this story this time was that there are two seemingly hopeless obstacles in Moses' life:

  • External circumstances: First he was about to be killed. Humanly speaking, there was no way for him to survive for long
  • His own insecurities: Moses thought he could never do what God asked him to do

Honestly, that sounds a lot like me. And also a lot like some people I have met. Some of us have amazing visions for our lives. We feel a strong calling from God in a certain direction. We have a passion to do something amazing in the name of Jesus. Maybe we are called to start a church or a ministry. Or we are called to share the gopsel in our workplace. Or maybe God calls us to start our own business or organization and make a difference through whatever God is calling us to do. Or maybe God is calling us into missions or going into another country.

There are so many people who have a calling from God and they know exactly what God is calling them to do. But they then simply wait for God to make it happen without them. They don't have the courage to take the first step. And most of the time it's because of these same two reasons that Moses experienced:

  • External: We just don't believe that things can work out. The circumstances seem impossible (Not enough money, too many unknowns, not enough supporters,...) And so because of "external realities", we are not willing to take the risk.
  • Internal: Many people simply feel like "this vision is for someone else". And so they don't take the first step either. They think it would be great for someone else to do this. Someone who has gone to Bible school before. Someone who has more experience. Someone who is a better preacher. Someone who is better equipped to do this. So if someone else was to do this, they would wholeheartedly cheer them on. But doing it yourself,... that's a different story. 

So many people don't ever "get started" with the calling that God has given them simply because they are afraid. So they play it safe for a year or two years. "I'll do it once God does THAT first." But those two years then turn into five, ten, twenty years. And one day they look back at their lives and they hate themselves for not having the courage to "jump in". They see other people succeeding in their calling. And they think: "Good for you. You had the courage to actually do it, and God was faithful to you. I didn't have that courage. And now I wish I had taken the risk like you did!"

 

Many people never get started with their vision. Others do start, but then quit on their calling somewhere half way. It's when things get rough somewhere "in the middle". 

No God-given vision is simple, easy and smooth. God doesn't work that way. Then we didn't need Faith. Think of Noah, Moses, Joshua, Gideon, David, Jeremiah, Peter, Paul,... They had great visions and God did amazing things through their lives. But was it easy for any of them? We all know, it wasn't. They went through a lot of difficulties in the pursuit of their calling. 

We always have to remember that a vision is most vulnerable in the middle third. In the beginning we have so much enthusiasm and excitement that nothing can stop us. Towards the end, when we're close to reaching our goal, it's easy to find the strength for "just a little more" until we reach the goal. But it's in the middle third where problems can overwhelm us. Maybe a  year or two into the project, when that initial excitement is gone, but the end, the goal is nowhere near yet. And that's where many people start questioning themselves.

  • "Did I make the right decision?"
  • Is this vision/calling really from God?
  • Is God really with me?
  • Do I have what it takes to reach the end?
  • ...

Many people start asking these kinds of questions when things get rough. For example:

  • The funding for a project/ministry doesn't come in as expected
  • We get less teaching opportunities than we expected
  • People oppose us instead of supporting us
  • The number of people we reach is lower than what we expect, maybe we think it's even insignificant
  • Feedback on our website, blog or Facebook page is rare, and predominantly negative
  • ...

What can we do to keep vision alive in those tough times "halfway into the vision"? I think here is where we need to have Faith. And maybe do a few things from the very beginning that keep us going later. For example:

  • Write it down! When we start on our journey, we can write down where we are going. We can so easily forget what we were thinking 2 years ago. But if we can read our vision again, we have something more stable to hold on to.
  • Write down how you are going to deal with setbacks. Expect setbacks, and write down how you are going to cope with them. It's easy to doubt everything when things don't go our way. But if we can write down from the very beginning how we plan on dealing with setbacks, then we have something more stable to hold on to. For example: "I will not give up simply because the funding doesn't come in as quickly as expected. I will give God at least 3 years to bring the money in!" If we have such a goal, then it's easier to make the right decision if the funding has not yet come in after 2 years.
  • Make yourself accountable to others. You can write down your vision. But you can also do the same with people. Tell them: "This is my vision. And if you ever see me question my vision, then remind me of what I told you today!"
  • Pray. That's simple, right? Well, not always. Pray the right way. Surrender and ask God to confirm the vision again, or to take it away. If we truly seek Him, He will make it clear and confirm the vision.
  • Work hard! We need to work hard even when the fruit of our lavor isn't visible yet. Sowing seeds is our part, bringing in the harvest is God's part. As they say in a Christian movie: "Two farmers pray for rain. But only one goes out and prepares his field. Which one has Faith?" Prepare your field for the harvest. Work hard today. Otherwise the blessing will come, but we're not ready to receive it!
  • ...

I don't know where you are at right now. But I do know for many of us, God has a BIG plan. God wants to do extraordinary things in and through His people. But many people don't do it, because of fear. And they spend their entire life "playing it safe", but not really being satisfied. And they keep hearing this nagging question every other day: "What if I had done it? Would my life be more fulfilled? Would it have been more exciting? Would some people's lives be better if I had stepped out and just done it?"

Maybe God is calling you to "something new" these days. Maybe He is asking you to step out of your comfort zone and do something that seems "unsafe". Make sure it's really from God. But if it is, then go for it! And watch how He does things that you can't even ask or imagine today.

Stop playing it safe! Allow God to use your life beyond your wildest dreams. 



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