How does God work through the birth, death, and fulfillment 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 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.)
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, God often works in ways that we never would have expected.
The Birth of a Vision
God 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.
Abraham provides us with an example of someone with a vision. God told Abraham, “I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing” (Genesis 12:2). Later God told Abraham, “Look now toward heaven, and tell [tally] the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be” (Genesis 15:5). God gave Abraham the vision of becoming the father of a great nation.
The Death of a Vision
After a time of realizing a vision and forming plans to fulfill it, little mishaps or major catastrophes that seem to bring an end to the vision may occur. This “death of a vision” can come in the form of financial setbacks, impossible circumstances, physical deficiencies, or others who doubt the vision.
At this point, an individual can encounter intense temptations to doubt his relationship with God and question what he is doing to fulfill the vision. Satan often comes as an “angel of light” to create confusion and deceive us as much as possible. (See 2 Corinthians 11:14.) He attempts to convince us to use our own energy and wisdom to fulfill the vision, thus directing our steps away from God’s chosen path and onto a path that can lead to disillusionment, destruction, and death. (See Proverbs 3:5-7, 14:12, and 16:25.)
Faced with the death of a vision, a person must hold on to hope, anticipating and expecting God to work out His revealed will in one’s life, even when it seems impossible. This “season” of waiting provides us with the opportunity to develop Christlike character, to realize our shortcomings and inadequacies, and to trust God to demonstrate His power and bring the vision to fulfillment. (See Psalm 27:14 and Isaiah 40:27–31.)
Abraham’s death of the vision came when his wife Sarah was unable to have a child. (See Genesis 16:1.) Rather than trusting God to fulfill the vision supernaturally, Abraham was persuaded to take matters into his own hands. He attempted to fulfill the vision by having a child with his wife’s handmaid, Hagar. “Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the Lord hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai” (Genesis 16:2).
The Fulfillment of a Vision
With the death of a vision, one can easily become discouraged. However, discouragement should not be the end of the story. When we see no possibility for the vision to be fulfilled, we can cry out to God for intervention to make the impossible a reality.
If the vision is God’s to begin with, He will carry out His purposes and plans. (See Philippians 1:6, Ephesians 2:10, and Philippians 2:13.) Wait on Him, trust in Him, and walk in obedience to His direction. Even though times of waiting can be painful, we must not give in to the temptation to give up on God’s vision for our lives. (See Hebrews 10:35–38.)
In Abraham’s life, God worked supernaturally to fulfill His promises. He restated His vision to Abraham. “God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife …. I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her” (Genesis 17:15–16). After years of waiting, God gave Abraham a son by Sarah, even in their old age, so that he became the father of a great nation.
God is more concerned about what happens in us than what happens to us. He wants us to be conformed to the image of the Lord Jesus Christ. He knows if He can build the character of Christ within our lives (Christ formed in us), then He can accomplish greater things through our lives.
As we experience the birth, death, and fulfillment of a vision, we can learn to understand God more deeply and develop more of the character of Christ. Thus, God equips us to fulfill His calling in our lives. (See Romans 5:3–5 and 8:28–29.) When the vision is fulfilled, we will be better equipped to demonstrate genuine love to others, encouraging them also to develop the character of Christ.
On pages 149–150 of the Basic Seminar Textbook, read about other people in Scripture who experienced the death of a vision.