“Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, what for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.” ~ Habakkuk 2:2-3
Habakkuk 2:2-3, we’ve all read it, recited it, or heard it used in a message. These verses are often used to encourage us to have, or get, a vision and trust that our vision will come to pass. A problem with this process is that our flawed interpretation of these two verses can be a major reason that the accomplished goal doesn’t look the way we painted it in our minds.
Every Man Has A Vision For Life
Every man has a vision. A vision for his life personally, a vision for his career, and a vision for his family. Pastors have a vision for the church they lead. Husbands have a vision for their marriage. Our vision of what we believe things will look like becomes a force in our moving forward through life. We strive, fight, wrestle, and sacrifice to see the vision come to pass. As believers in Christ we hold fast to the promises of the Bible, including Habakkuk 2:2-3.
Trust me when I tell you that I had a vision for every area of my life. Clarity wasn’t an issue with my vision. It was clear, with color, sound, and feeling. I used the vision to make decisions about certain things that I would do, or not do, daily. This went on for years. So imagine my consternation when things didn’t pan out the way I’d envisioned. I became frustrated. I became angry. At times I wrestled with whether I was even capable of doing what I was called to do. Sound familiar?
Are You Misinterpreting the Verse?
The problem isn’t with Habakkuk, or even with having and following vision, the problem is with our interpretation of both the verses and the vision they describe. You see, when we read the admonition in Habakkuk 2 to “write the vision,” we assume the vision is ours to write. We take the verse as an invitation imagine life on our terms, and we go all out in the imagining! But the prophet is complaining to God in the text, and what we read in verses 2-3 is God’s response to his complaint. The vision to be written isn’t the prophet’s vision but God’s.
See the problem? When we think that we can just come up with a vision on our own and slap God’s seal of approval on it, we’ve messed up. We’ve also guaranteed that the end will look little like what we envisioned. Why should it? Our vision isn’t automatically God’s vision. This is the place where most people say they clearly understood that the vision was God’s and not their own. But I’d ask, “If you know for sure that it was God’s vision, are you acting accordingly?” Here’s what I mean.
Do You Know God?
Too often we talk of our vision as God’s vision. We ascribe to God the things that we actually want ourselves. In reality, we don’t know God. Maybe its better to say that we don’t really know what God wants. What I mean is that we aren’t close enough to Him to be able to discern His vision from our own.
You see, if I haven’t come to know God through His Son Jesus, then discerning His vision for my life is impossible. There are tons of marginal Christians claiming that God wants them to do something, only to spend countless years without fruit. If you don’t know God, you cannot know God’s vision for your life.
Does the Vision Further God’s Mission?
You have a vision for material wealth? That’s a great thing. Congratulations. God’s not anti-wealth. But is that really God’s full vision for you? You see, God has an ultimate plan for Creation and we are all part of that plan. Yes…even the wealthy. We spend time chasing part of God’s ultimate plan (that He be glorified and His name known throughout the world) as if it were the final plan. Our wealth, our happiness, our getting all that we have ever dreamed of…none of these things are God’s ultimate plan, although they can all be used as part of God’s plan. God’s vision will always lead to Him being glorified and known as the God who created and loves all.