It’s a one syllable word. And a perfectly simple one at that. Right?
If you look up “vision”, the OED will tell you that it means a) the ability to see, b) the ability to think about or plan the future with imagination or wisdom, c) a mental image of what the future could be like, and Vision also happens to be a Marvel superhero. (There are other definitions too, but this is not a vocabulary lesson.)
In other words, to have vision implies looking at something with faith and hope. Now, why does that sound so familiar? Oh yes, of course: Jeremiah 29:11.
This morning I spent nearly three hours raking the leaves in my garden into heaps and pulling the weeds out of the lawn as I went along. Winter is hard work. Anyway, I had my iPod playing while I eagerly started out my task. Soon enough a hymn came across the playlist: Be Thou My Vision. I’m sure you’ve heard it before. It has a really catchy Irish tune. If you, for the moment, forgot how it goes, check out this cover by Noteworthy.
So, anyway, the song stuck with me, and I went looking for the scriptures that inspired this hymn.
Something I’ve been thinking about a lot this week is that scripture in Matthew 14 where Peter sees Jesus walking on the water and Jesus tells him (Peter) to get out of the boat and come to him. Peter starts out great, but soon enough he starts sinking. Because he took his eyes off Jesus.
I think it’s easy to loose sight of God. Not because we’re distracted necessarily, though that can sometimes be the issue, but often simply because we have our own agenda.
When Peter got out of the boat his goal was to reach Jesus. That was what he was focused on and what he was going for. Now, I’m pretty sure there might have been waves spraying into Peter’s eyes and he might have been afraid, but the minute he stepped out of the boat, he walked in faith. Yes, he started sinking and he cried out to God to save him. Jesus said, “you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
When I think about “little faith” I’m reminded about Matthew 13, just one chapter earlier, where Jesus says in v31:
“The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. 32 Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.”
Faith in obedience has the power to move mountains. If we act on a word of God we shall be like the believers described in Matthew 10. It’s not just about the supernatural, but it also is. If we call ourselves Christians we simply cannot live ordinary lives.
And this hymn reminds me of that — to live with heavenly perspective. He is my battle shield. His Word is my sword. He is my strong tower. He is my delight.
I pray that you might see Him and have the courage to step out of the boat. Yes, it’s scary and sometimes the waves are pretty big and the wind blows strong and throws you off balance.
But keep your eyes on Him.
Act in obedience and walk by faith, not be sight.
Stepping out in faith is not knowing that Peter walked on water. Faith is getting out of your own boat, whether you’re wearing a life jacket or not, and whether you’re knee deep in the water and surrounded by a storm or not, to still trust that God has plan for your life; knowing Holy Spirit will guide you; knowing Jesus will reach out to catch you; knowing Father will embrace you; and doing the impossible because God is a God of wonders.