August 25th, 2010

The Cycle of “Birth-Death-Birth” with Vision

The first time I heard the words “birth of a vision-death of a vision-birth of a vision” was in a Bill Gothard seminar as a high school student. What he described as a pattern in God’s “economy” of working with leaders, is illustrated most dramatically with Abraham’s call to sacrifice Isaac. Isaac represented the long awaited promise of a son, through whom Abraham’s family would multiply like stars in the sky and sand on the beach. But God led Abraham to the death of the that vision, quite literally, only to then re-provide for the original promise. The death of the vision tests whether or not our deepest allegiance is to the vision or to God. 

I am grateful for this perspective which has buttressed my own faith in difficult or unexpected times of testing. For example, I could not have had a clearer call to go to seminary. Yet in my first year, increasing family commitments and financial limitations stared me down. Every voice of wisdom told me to become a full-time engineer again and put seminary plans on hold. The situation got pretty bleak, and my vision faded.  I gave up my grasp on the dream of training but kept my hope in God’s call to ministry. The week before the start of my second semester, I had no money for classes, and no job. The next day, God brought a 30-hour a week job as an engineer  (with flex time around school) and unsolicited support came in from four different families to cover one year’s tuition. It was a minor miracle and the re-birth of my dream. 

The cycle works on a micro and macro-level.  Today I read a letter from a pastor who was thinking through his apostolic esprit (our term for passion) for his Kingdom Concept. He began to realized that his deepest call from God was being reborn. Years ago he had to ministry of creating safe environments for counseling and restoration. In his early success he was tempted and fell in moral failure, thus violating not just God’s commands but his own vision for being an agent of redemption. His story includes an amazing, long-term personal recovery process and restoration back to ministry. But until the Vision co::Lab he had not found his way back to the original vision of being a counselor-restorer. Why not? As you can imagine, fear and shame wreak havoc. 

As I read his letter, I was so encouraged. I sensed the grand cycle working its way out again: 

BIRTH OF A VISION  >> DEATH OF A VISION >> BIRTH OF A VISION

It made me wonder where you might be right now. I have been so helped by realizing this pattern, and leaning into God in the tough times. The amazing thing is that the rebirth of the vision may resemble what it was the first time, or it may be different. But it is always better. It is always sweeter.

  • Abraham looked at his son differently and trusted his God more completely.
  • I carried my text book with more gratitude and felt a greater responsibility for my seminary training.
  • A pastor friend knows a deeper depth of grace and restoration will multiple grace and restoration like never before.

Do you have a dream that’s been overshadowed? May God be your only vision. And  keep dreaming.

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