Summary: God's Sovereignty gives us vision beyond our present circumstances so that we can know His hand of love is at work.
The Power of Vision
I have been waiting to share with you the message that God has burned into my heart while I was away with my family on vacation. I have been sharing this lesson every chance I have been given since I have returned home. I shared it with our staff on Monday morning, I shared it with the Promise Keepers on Wednesday morning, and I have shared it with many individuals during the past week. The lesson that God has been teaching me is the power of vision. I want to clarify something for us as we begin so that I don't confuse you. Vision is kind of a nebulous term that can mean many different things. When someone says that they have a vision they can be talking about all kinds of experiences or insights they have experienced.
We experienced the reality of one man's vision while we were in Florida on vacation. Many years ago Walt Disney took a group of people out to a piece of land in Florida that had no usefulness at all. The land was marshy and muddy and there wasn't anyone who believed that it could be useful for the city of Orlando until Walt Disney shared his vision of what we know today as Walt Disney World. Before one shovel of land was ever turned Walt walked through the acreage and described in vivid detail, as if it was already before his eyes, the various structures, themes, rides, and excitement that the park would bring.
As Walt Disney World was under construction, the visionary leader died and therefore missed the grand opening of the greatest theme park in the world. At the dedication of the park someone said, "Isn't it too bad that Walt Disney didn't live to see this?" Mike Vance, creative director of Disney Studios, replied, "He did see it-that's why it's here." (Haddon W. Robinson, Hamilton, Massachusetts, Leadership, Spring, 1993, p. 48.)
There are those like Walt Disney who have a vision of building a theme park, a business, gaining an education, or winning a gold medal in the Olympics. I love to hear their stories as they inspire and move us all, but that is not the kind of vision that I want to talk with you about this morning.
There are others who speak of having visions of gaining great wealth, finding a cure for cancer, or discovering the origins of the Universe, but that is not the kind of vision that I want to share with you this morning. There are still others who have a vision of playing professional sports, taking exotic vacations, being a size 7, or striking it rich, but these are the visions that I want to talk about this morning.
I don't want to mislead you into thinking that the next several minutes is going to be an Anthony Robbins or Oprah Winfrey-type seminar on creating your vision and getting what you want out of life. There are plenty of folks who can help you with that type of thinking if that is what you are looking for in life. They can help you plot and plan and pursue starting a new business, making more money, losing weight, etc. I'm not putting those folks down it is just that as I have gotten older and learned more about the Lord the more I am convinced that what we truly need is a clear vision of another kind. What people desperately need today is not a vision that centers on themselves and their happiness or alleviating the suffering of humanity, even though that is a wonderful and noble vision to pursue. What we need more than anything is a vision of God's holiness, majesty, glory, righteousness, power, and grace.
While we were on vacation God struck me with such a clear vision and a deeper understanding of His magnificence and might, His love and mercy, His sovereignty and provision that I can't escape it to this day. Let me back up and share with you how God began to teach me this lesson. One night Dan and I were out walking on the beach when I saw a group of ladies huddled together up on the beach. I went up and asked, "What are you guys doing?" They showed us a turtle nest where some baby turtles had hatched and about six of them were really struggling. One of the ladies was licensed to work with the turtles and she began to tell us about them. The six were really weak and it looked like they weren't going to make it. The women were holding them in their hands and rubbing them, trying to rejuvenate their little bodies. While they were busy working I began to quiz them about the turtles. They said that they were Green turtles and that they were on the endangered species list. They told me that the mother had laid up to 100 eggs in the nest that she had dug and buried about six weeks ago. After the mother had laid the eggs she covered them up and walked back to sea never to see the nest again. I asked if the turtles are born any time or if they are born just at night. The lady said, "Oh, they are only born at night. Never born while the sun is up." I'm not very smart so I asked, "How do they know that it is night?" She said, "Well, they just know. Nature has taught them when it is time to be born." I said, "Oh, I see." She went on to tell us that when the time is right the little turtle bites his way out of his shell, digs out of the sand, and walks down to the water. I asked, "How does the turtle know to walk to the water instead of towards the trees behind us?" Once again I heard, "Nature has taught them what to do when they are born." I asked my sons, "Isn't evolution a wonderful thing?"