I was meditating on Jesus’ transfiguration on the mountain (Matt 7) and the word “vision” in verse 9. It got me to thinking once again about how God gives us His vision and what we “do” with it as opposed what we “are to do” with it.
If you read the account of Jesus’ transfiguration you cannot miss the fact that the disciples’ missed the point of the whole vision. There they were and after seeing Jesus in all His glory talking with Moses and Elijah, Peter immediately said exactly what we would, and have no doubt said…
Matt 17:4 Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make here three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.“
My translation… In light of what we just saw, I want to stay up here, I don’t want to go back down. Haven’t we all been there? Probably, if you are like me, more than once. God gives us a vision of what He wants us to be, where He is taking us, and we want to live that vision at that very moment. I remember clearly when the Lord showed me that I was to teach His Word. My response was to build a tabernacle on that mountain and immediately set about doing just that. But I learned (painfully) that isn’t how it works. The vision isn’t fulfilled up high on the mountain top, it is fulfilled down below in the valley. Before it can become “real” in us, we have to be led through the valley where, sadly, many of us will give up and never see the vision fulfilled.
Speaking for myself, I have found that the biggest hindrance to keeping the vision from becoming a reality is my own lack of “patience” and desire to avoid the sometimes painful journey. My timetable never seems to be in line with God’s timetable, and the reason is that I want to shortcut the challenges I am going to encounter walking through the “valley of preparation.”
The picture I chose for this post says it all for me. It’s awesome to be up there, but you can’t stay up there forever as there is so much work that needs to be done down below. While we hold the vision, God needs to put us through the fire in the valley down here in order to prepare us for the reality of walking out the vision. And that begins immediately after He has given us the vision, just like it was for Peter, James, and John. Moses and Elijah departed (the end of the Law and the Prophets; the Old Testament; the old covenant) and there standing alone before them was Jesus (the New Testament; the new covenant), and He immediately led them back down into the valley.
Isn’t it interesting that the Father put His Amen to the vision by interrupting Peter…
Matt 17:5 While he [Peter] was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!”
The vision that God gives us “continues” to sit high up on the mountain top and will be ever before us. But like Peter, James and John, reality is down below. And I must admit that over the past 30 years or more I have quite often tried to climb back up on the mountain top, only to find that it only succeeded in interrupting my required journey through the valley. Submission and obedience in my early years were a struggle, but age does a wonderful thing for the believer… it becomes easier to submit and obey than to “kick against the goads.” And “wala,” if I had figured that out a lot earlier the journey might not have been as difficult.
And its down in the valley that we find the Potter’s House and learn what His wheel is all about. He is the one who fashions the clay and determines what needs to be done in order to arrive at the vision He has of the finished product. And it is His hands that apply all of the needed pressure at just the right times and the right places.
The bottom line is that if God has given you a vision of what He wants you to be, no matter how hard you try, you will never be satisfied down in the valley because the Holy Spirit will never let you. He is the One who will see that you become exactly in conformance with the vision. However, the process, the time, and the path are all impacted by how we respond. And at the end of the day, the vision that each one of us has been given is always tied back to His ultimate vision for His bride… to be conformed to the image of His Son.
Just remember, it doesn’t happen Up High, it happens Down Below.