When Lewis Carroll became famous through his story “Alice in Wonderland” he decided to follow this up with a sequel in which he and his readers would have to think inside out. In his book “Alice through the Looking Glass” he creates a mirror image world, but it’s not a world in which you can walk forward to reach your destination. You will eventually discover that you are further away from your destination than ever. In order to get to where you are going you have to go in the opposite direction. Can you imagine having to make a sustained mental effort in completing those ordinary activities of life working as in a mirror. Have you ever tried cutting your own hair or wanting to look at the back of your head whilst looking in the mirror – then having to use another mirror to compensate the difficulty you’re experiencing in achieving the task?
Just like Alice trying to comprehend the vision she was seeing, we too are facing that similar challenge. We are eager to see potential growth but the image that we seem to be sustaining is one of decline. A little like the looking glass; the more you move forward the further away you become from your destination! In Proverbs we read, “Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained, but happy is he who keeps the law” Proverbs 29:18. Vision is the bridge between the present and the future. The writer makes clear that without it we will perish or go “unrestrained”. “A man without a vision is a man without a future. A man without a future will always return to his past.” (P.K.Bernard). This was a question in which I posed to the Elders at their away day? Do we want to remain in the past or strive for the future of SURC? Having a clear vision gives us a clear purpose but may also involve painful decisions. When there is no clear vision we risk living our lives taking the path of least resistance, trying to avoid discomfort. If we as a body of Christ are ready to sacrifice those things that a vision requires, then this will determine the number of people who will be prepared to follow.
Consider for a moment a young individual wanting to join the armed services, but not thinking about the training they will endure. Moving from a life of comfort to somewhere where they will experience discomfort. They go from being immature individuals to strong maturity. Somehow through all this, their whole mindset is changed. Why? Just like the disciples they understood the significance of enduring pain which prepares them for a greater destiny. The vision of the future, whilst uncomfortable offers meaning and purpose.
The reason we find it difficult to comprehend vision is that we fail to understand the purposes of our trials. We spend our days walking down paths and every obstacle we encounter is something to be avoided. Vision is what we see, but is also the way in which we see it. Vision is about seeing life from God’s perspective and how we interpret it
Then the Lord answered me and said, “Record the vision and inscribe it on tablets, That the one who reads it may run.” For the vision is yet for the appointed.time; It hastens toward the goal and it will not fail. Though it tarries, wait for it; For it will certainly come, it will not delay. Habakkuk 2:2-3