Friday, September 21, 2012

What's the vision?


Dan. 8:27 ¶ So I, Daniel, was overcome and lay sick for some days; then I arose and went about the king’s business. But I was dismayed by the vision and did not understand it.


Daniel was a man of prayer who spent lengthy periods of time in God's holy presence.  His daily discipline included three separate times of prayer every single day.  He wasn't shy about this practice -- throwing open the window of his home and praying as he looked up toward heaven.  There were times, however, where Daniel received visions as he prayed.  This particular vision came in the third year of King Belshazzar's reign and it was extremely vivid.  Daniel wasn't sure about what he had seen but God sent Gabriel to speak to him.  Gabriel told him that the vision spoke of the "appointed time of the end."  Daniel, a man whose heart was very close to God and to whom much had been revealed, did not know what this meant.  The vision was overwhelming and literally made Daniel physically ill.  While he overcame the physical symptoms, as Daniel went back to work, he was unable to shake the sight of the vision. 


There are times in my spiritual life where I have literally felt like I have been wrestling with God in prayer.  These times generally happen when the Lord wakes me up in the middle of the night and I feel encouraged to pray about someone or something in particular.  There is literally a sense that you are feeling what God is feeling or that you are seeing what he is seeing and he is asking you to join with him in what is happening in the world.  There are times when it takes physical strength to participate with God we join with him in spiritual warfare.  And when we are finished doing battle, we feel like Daniel -- we are overcome with exhaustion and we have to take time to recover. 

Exhaustion is sometimes the cost of seeing the vision, and I must confess that sometimes I tell the Lord that I just don't think I have the energy to go there -- and then he calls me on, into his vision.  The point is, it's his vision and we need to trust in the fact that what we do and how we engage in the world is simply as God's ambassadors.  The vision wasn't necessarily about Daniel or about what was going to happen in that day.  Instead, the vision was about God and about revealing God to his people.  Daniel was simply a participant together with God in seeing a glimpse of God's future.  As we participate with God in prayer he may give us a glimpse of his future, or he may not.  However, if he does, we must pray and ask God what we are to do with that information, and ultimately we may end up being like Daniel, unable to understand what it means.  It's in that moment that we turn our hearts toward the God who loves us so deeply and so intimately that he trusts us with his vision and we tell him that whether we understand it or not -- we will trust in him.  For the purpose of prayer, as Daniel came to understand, is to know God and to be transformed into his image so that we can become a reflection of him to the world.  So, ultimately, what is the vision?  The vision is to be a radical follower of Jesus Christ who is willing to move forward with God, trusting in him whether we understand the vision or not. 


'Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus!  Thank you, Lord.  Amen.

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