Part 9 – The Birth, Death, and Resurrection of a Vision
The way in which God interacts with each of His children is in perfect harmony with basic principles found in Scripture. This interaction often involves the birth of a vision, the death of a vision, and the fulfillment (or resurrection) of a vision. As an illustration of the birth, death, and fulfillment of a vision, Scripture refers to the process of planting a grain of wheat. Although the grain has the potential to produce "much fruit," it first must be buried in the ground and die. Only then can new life spring up to produce a harvest. (See John 12:24.)
The Lord God wants each believer to grow in his knowledge of God, and understanding of His ways. He will use situations and circumstances to reveal His love for us and our need for Him. God will use the disappointments, drawbacks, and dead ends in life to motivate us to look to Him for His strength and timing for fulfilling a vision. As we wait on Him, the Lord often works in ways that we never would have expected.
The Lord has a special purpose for each person He has created. All of us have desires, ambitions, talents, and special interests that can spark a vision for what we can do and be. The realization of desires or goals in a person's heart is the "birth of a vision." This vision - visualizing by faith what God intends to do in your life - then inspires and motivates a person to pursue the goal he believes he must fulfill. But lo and behold, that vision – that idea – that dream – may burst – crash and burn – and then we are left wondering what in the world happened. Did we miss the Lord? Is He punishing us? Now, maybe it wasn't the Lord, and if it wasn't, then thank the Lord that He took it away. But if it was/is the Lord, then maybe He has to crucify it in order to resurrect it – new and improved – and with less of us and more of Him!! We see this in the lives of Philemon, Paul and Onesimus. Each had a dream – and each had their dream crucified. To mention them briefly: Philemon had a dream of a good, hassle-free life of success and prosperity – materially and spiritually – but Onesimus destroyed all of that by robbing him and running away. Sometimes our idyllic life is shattered by some horrific and painful event, but the Lord will repay what the locusts have eaten. He will take care of His children.
Paul had a dream of using Onesimus in his ministerial and missionary travels, but Paul had to let that dream die in order to allow Onesimus to go back to Philemon.
Onesimus dreamed of freedom, independence and wealth, but that dream (albeit sinful) was crucified when he met Paul and came to faith.
But how were each of their crucified dreams resurrected? Philemon got his money back (Paul said he'd pay him); he got a better slave back because Onesimus was now his brother in Christ; his household would be blessed with a slave who loved Jesus and loved Philemon; the church would be blessed to see reconciliation work first hand with the healing between Onesimus and Philemon; and all of Christianity would be blessed because of their example.
Paul is blessed because the Lord raised up other helpers; Paul was released from house arrest; and was able to continue his missionary work – all without Onesimus.
And Onesimus was blessed because now he was truly free and independent (in Christ); was reconciled with his master; and history indicates that Onesimus may very well have been the Bishop of Ephesus!
We may all have dreams and impressions of what the Lord may have in store for us, but sometimes those dreams need to be crucified because:
1. They aren't from the Lord
2. There's too much of us and not enough of the Lord
3. The Lord just wants to increase our faith and teach us that His ways are always the best ways.
And if these dreams are from the Lord then you can be guaranteed that the Father will resurrect that dream into something far better than you ever imagined. In the meantime, keep praying; walk humbly with the Lord; seek His face and not His hand; and trust that the good work He started He will faithfully complete!