Proverbs 29:18 says ‘Without a vision, people perish.’ Vision is vital. It keeps the ‘why’ of everything we do in perspective. If you don’t see it before you see it, you’ll never see it.
Shortly after the death of Walt Disney, his widow Lilian was invited to be the guest of honour at the opening ceremony of a new Disneyland project which Walt didn’t get to complete. During the event, the host for the evening invited Lilian to come onto the stage and address the gathered crowd. As she made her way forward, the host remarked ‘It’s just a pity Walt couldn’t have seen this!’. When she arrived on the stage, Lilian composed herself, took the microphone and then gave a stern gaze towards the host. Then with a playful glint in her eye, she smiled and responded, ‘Young man, he did see it!’ – to which there was a huge applause from the crowd. You see, Walt Disney had the vision for this project long ago. The ceremony simply marked the completion of what he’d already seen in his heart.
This is like faith. If you don’t see it before you see it, you’ll never see it. Hebrews 11:1 defines faith like this. ‘Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see’. How can we be ‘certain of what we do not see?’ After all, conventional wisdom says ‘seeing is believing’. However, this is not how faith works. Faith believes in our heart before we see with our eyes. In other words, ‘believing IS seeing’.
Hebrews chapter 11 is sometimes referred to as the ‘hall of faith’. It is full of characters who dared to believe God. Noah is a good example. He built an ark because he foresaw a flood was coming – even when there was no sign of rain. Yet in the process, he had to keep believing through misunderstanding and ridicule. Moses is another good example of someone who trusted God despite huge challenges – leading the children of Israel from captivity across the red sea. It teaches us that faith dares to believe God.
Of course, trusting God does not mean we immediately get answers to all our deepest held questions. Nor does it mean that we cease to have any further questions in the future. Life is full of mystery and it would be unreasonable for us not to ponder and question at times. God is not offended by this. Nor does he mind when we ask him personal questions. Any healthy relationship can endure questioning. In fact, questions are often what make a relationship even stronger. However, in the midst of all our questions, God’s desire is for us to have the courage to believe him and his word – despite what we do not comprehend. This is faith. It means believing God before we fully understand him.
Later this year, the Junction Church in Leicester will launch. Why? Because we have a vision of pioneering a world class church that will be a carrier of God’s hope in the city. We’re seeing it before we see it. Do we have all the resources to make it happen? No. But that’s the way faith works. We’re not waiting around for the perfect moment. That moment never comes. We’re going to step out in faith…and my experience has taught me that God always honours faith.
When we first launched the Junction Church in Loughborough, every step was a step of faith. We had the vision to pioneer a great church but we had to believe God for the PRO-vision in order for it to actually happen. God did not disappoint.
God is looking for people who will dare to believe him. Remember, if you don’t see it before you see it, you’ll never see it! Let’s choose to be people of faith.