By Ken Stalls, BCM/D President and Pastor of South End Church, Frederick, Md.
Throughout the Bible, we see examples of God giving spiritual vision to ordinary people whom He had chosen for extraordinary moments.
In the Old Testament era, visions from God were a primary means of communicating His will. Several come to mind very readily…
To Noah, a man who had never seen rain, God gave the vision of a great flood that would destroy everything on earth.
To Abraham, married without children, God gave the vision of a great people of whom he would be the father.
To Moses, raised as a prince yet siding with the slaves, God gave the vision of a great deliverance under his leadership. Though he first ran from the challenge, God would call him back and use him to guide a nation to its place of promise.
Each of these individuals became a steward of a God-given vision. After the revelation, came the responsibility–a weighty responsibility to live and think and act in light of what God had revealed.
Noah responded to the vision by preparing for the calamity to come, warning others as God had warned him. For more than a century–120 grueling years–he labored to build the vessel that would deliver his family from danger. He was ridiculed, mocked and scorned, but he was not deterred.
Abraham responded to the vision by setting forth on a journey to a place yet unknown, driven by the hope of a promise yet unfulfilled. Along the way he stumbled often, but he never lost faith in the One whose calling launched his great venture.
Moses, who fled from Egypt and spent 40 lonely years tending sheep in a barren desert, was given a second chance at the ripe young age of 80. From the undying flames of a burning bush, God spoke to Moses and gave him his marching orders. The Lord revealed what was to come, and Moses responded to the vision by confronting the world’s mightiest ruler and demanding his compliance with God’s command. Although all the forces of a formidable kingdom were joined against him, Moses led his people in a victorious exodus out of their bondage.
In the Bible, God gave visions in order to communicate His purposes. He made Himself known through audible voices, dreams in the night and even a burning bush. Since most Christians never experience a vision like the ones described in the Bible, it’s fair to ask why. The simplest answer is that God speaks to us today primarily through three means. He gives us instruction and direction through His Word. He converses with us as we converse with Him in prayer. And He guides our thinking and illumines our minds through His Spirit.
As Jesus explained to His disciples, “When He, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you.”
Unlike believers in ancient days, we live in the era of the Spirit; and we have the privilege of His moment-by-moment, day-by-day guidance.
Like everything else of value to the believer, spiritual vision is a gift of God. It is a divinely empowered ability to see something that doesn’t yet exist in the physical realm.
When God gives vision, it is something of faith, not of sight. It has been my extreme pleasure to work with a dedicated group of people in our state convention who are people of vision. God is powerfully working through them to enable us all to be involved in His God-sized Kingdom ministry here in Maryland and Delaware. How effective we will be as God’s servants is, at least in part, dependent on how we respond to our state convention’s leadership. We can choose to ignore their giftedness and “go it on our own,” or we can make full use of what God is doing through them. I am convinced that it would be a terrible waste to ignore what God is offering us through these visionaries.
May our Lord continue to richly bless you all. Thanks for the privilege of serving as president of our convention.