Vision? What do you see?

I’ve got an eye test at the end of this week. Oh goody. At my age, it’s yet another eagerly anticipated opportunity for me to develop ever-more elaborate ways to say ‘no’ to the question of, “Would you like to try bifocals?” Despite my staunch resistance to yield to this suggestion, I cannot deny that my vision is not as good as it used to be. I may give in one day when I find myself walking into door frames too often.

This morning’s news was that ahead of the election, a ‘Bishop’s letter’ is going to be published calling for “a fresh moral vision for the country’s future.” And it got me to thinking about vision more generally. We talk about ‘vision’ a lot, especially in business or churchy circles. There’s always some kind of visioning exercise* going on somewhere or another. Having a ‘vision’ is clearly important. But how are we different and better with a vision? And are we always poorer for the lack of one?

(*The phrase ‘visioning exercise’ causes me to slightly shudder.  I imagine it may involve being forced to watch severely uncomfortable and out-of-breath people doing some kind of ghastly over-energetic physical activity whilst trying to reassure me it’s ‘fun’ and I should join in. I think not. I’m afraid I would have to politely decline.)

My current daily devotional is the simple but delightful ‘Love Out Loud’ by Joyce Meyer, and yesterday’s offering was called ‘What do you see?’ (in my case not too much without the right glasses!) Anyway…. Joyce quotes Habakkuk 2:2:

“Write the vision and make it plain.”

Joyce goes on to say,

“Writing down your vision brings it into the real world and makes it solid.”

I like that. We can so easily tune into a lot of sobering and potentially depressing stuff within and around us – crises, ill health, financial insecurity, threats to our safety, social and cultural fragmentation – whether you’re of faith or not, these things are real and pressing. It strikes me that how we respond to them will be defined in part by our vision (or lack of) for our future. If we rehearse these fears in our minds and in our conversations with friends we end up ‘writing them plainly’; they become real and solid and unavoidable to us. On a personal level, for example, I could choose to have a quite depressing and hopeless vision for my future; an ageing divorcee with no kids and huge debts. Oh, how terribly lonely and sad I will be, rattling around in my baggy old pyjamas with no friends, occasionally bumping into door frames because I can’t see properly. 

So, what do we see? A future vision where we simply ‘duck and cover’? Where we retreat from the threats until there’s simply nothing left of us? I hope not. Thankfully, as a Christian, my vision isn’t just about the here and now; it extends beyond this realm of existence into something far more glorious and hopeful than I can ever imagine.

Richard Ostling says in ‘Kingdoms to Come’:

“A futurist speculating about what things would be like from the perspective of a scientist in the year 2090 wrote: It seems amazing now that there was ever a time when science was supposedly the enemy of faith, and religion was deemed hostile to technological investigation. The end of atheism and agnosticism became inevitable as soon as computer calculations made improbable the odds that random natural selection could be the sole explanation for the ever increasing intricacies found in biology. Equally influential was the discovery of multiple universes, which astronomers found at the macrocosmic level and physicists found in the microcosmic. Science thus established the current Age of Faith, re-creating the Creator. Nowadays only the fool says in his heart, “There is no God”.

Reflecting on this, along with Joyce Meyer’s question of ‘what do we see?’ I’m challenged to write plainly of a vision for my life that is based around such an awesome God that has built himself intricately into his creation at every turn, and of which I am an intimate part. You can’t get that vision down the opticians!


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