Way back in my teens, I was driving the car one day, with dad beside me as a passenger. I don’t know what caused him to say what he said, but it’s been a driving force in who I am today. I don’t believe when he said it he had any idea how it would shape the rest of my life, or that it would have farther-stretching meaning to me than he intended…but it certainly did. It took many years for what he said that day to fully sink in for me, but somewhere in the back of my mind that single statement has been lingering ever since they crossed his lips.
Driving wherever we were going that day, I remember only that we were on a 4-lane divided highway, with moderate traffic ahead of us. I’m sure this is hard to imagine, but back in my younger years, I was not the safest young man on the road. I had a bad habit of following too closely and driving over the speed limit (okay, yes…I’ll admit…I still struggle with this sometimes…just ask my wife). On that day many years ago, I was doing just that…following too closely…when dad had had enough…”your problem, son, is that you’re not looking far enough down the road. I think your bad vision has you watching right in front of you, but you have to be looking down the road at what the drivers who are in front of the car right in front of you are doing.”
Do you do that too? Pay more attention to what’s going on right in front of you than what’s going on down the road? Is your vision focused on your immediate future, not the long term? Are you more concerned with your next two moves than the ten that follow those? The mark of any great chess player is that he has the vision to see every move played out before the game even starts. He can anticipate how his move will affect his opponent’s move, and so on throughout the entire game. His vision is not focused on the next two moves…it’s constantly ten (or more) moves ahead.
In every aspect of our lives, our vision has to be on what’s down the road…what’s the bigger picture? If we’re only focused on the car right in front of us, we’ll never see that up the road, cars are swerving to miss a hazard in the road…and by the time that hazard is right in front of us, it’s too late for us to avoid it. While we must certainly be aware of what’s going on right here and now in front of us, our vision has to be focused down the road…on the bigger picture. Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 4:18 that “we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” Our decisions are a reflection of where our vision is focused…where our eyes look, our body follows.
God has a vision for you…and for me. If we’re so wrapped up in our lives that we’re focused on the daily tasks of survival, we’ll never see the vision He has for us. It’s not until we open our eyes to the bigger picture of what’s going on around us and ahead of us that we’ll see He has a plan for our lives that takes us out of the moment…the temporary, and moves us into the future…the eternal.
“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.'” – Jeremiah 29:11-12
So where is your vision? Where is your focus? Are you constantly looking behind you…living in the past? Are you looking around you at what others are doing and following the crowd…just blending in? Are you looking right in front of you at what lies only immediately in front of you? Or is your vision focused on the bigger picture?
Where has God placed you on this great big planet? In all the history of the Earth, He placed you and I right here…right now. We’re all right where we are in this moment in all of time for a purpose. What’s yours? If you don’t know…there’s one way to find out. Ask Him to reveal it to you. He might…He might not. If He doesn’t right away, it’s not because He doesn’t have a plan for you…it’s because you’re not ready for it. Ask Him to help you prepare for it…so that when He’s ready to reveal it to you, you have the capacity to see the bigger picture…to better grasp how great His vision for you really is…so you’re able to see clearly the vision He has for you.
Gracious Abba Father, may you find favor on your humble servant, though I have nothing of me to offer that you require to complete your will. I am but a speck of dust in this life in the here and now, and yet you have found favor on me and placed me here to serve and honor you. For that, I thank you. I believe I have at least a glimpse of the vision you have for me, and yet I know I’m human…that my vision is not yours…what I see is not what you see. Open my eyes, Lord, that I might see more clearly the vision you have for me and my life.