“My people perish for a lack of vision.” Hosea 4:6. Over the holidays it became a pattern of those who had been clear on their purpose and vision were more settled and remarked how 2014 had been a wonderful year. Those who were waiting on God for things, who had not experienced some things hoped for or were not clear on direction, were anxious and looking forward to a new year. So many years in the past, I would be joining the latter group waiting for the “peach” to drop in Atlanta, the apple to fall from New York or hear fireworks in the neighborhood announcing a New Year had begun! Many of us wait for a New Year believing it will produce a different outcome. There is a popular saying, “insanity is doing the same thing over again and believing it will produce a different result.” A lot of us “act” insane! We continue “doing” the same thing over again and think that a New Year will produce a different outcome. In fact we even go so far as couch our hopes with words or religious clichés thinking that will add power to the repetitive steps from the years before.
When we begin a New Year without clarity or purpose, we are as a captain of a boat trying desperately to navigate through a thick fog to shore. Years of experience cannot even prove a different outcome. The waves of the sea rage and slap our boat around like toys in a bath tub. We tighten our grip to maneuver our boats to safe calm waters, but the fog is so intense, navigation not working in the storm continuously driving us further from where we hoped to go.
In the beginning of a New Year, I have set goals, continued to believe and hope for dreams carried for years with a glimmer of renewed hope that this year will be different. Not! Social Media plasters wonderful memoires of family get togethers’, travel, summaries of the year and I wonder how much is truly authentic? Of those it is, I celebrate! For those who are only trying to appear as if this is your life, this blog is for you. I am speaking to those whose disappointments have outweighed the on target appointments; those who have faced with all the courage they could muster, but have fallen to dis-couragement. I don’t read too much about this yet we live in a world where statistics align with the latter, not the former.
We are living in an era where maintaining appearances is more important than authenticity except the millenniums would vote to be real. So let us look at some new statistics… did you know that there are more single people in the WORLD, not USA than married people? I have seen statistics from 68% to as high as 74%. Did you know that 15 percent of women from 15-44 struggle with infertility, over 50% of all marriages end in divorce and 1 in 3 people have no solid retirement plan? Even with these statistics we still live in a “Leave it to Beaver syndrome” where all is well and we have no issues.
Some of us in the church have been taught that if we speak our problems out loud, they will happen. Trust me, even if you don’t speak it out loud, it is happening. This fear of being honest has really backfired. It has kept most of us in bondage longer. It is my experience as a certified Pastoral Counselor, transitional consultant and mentoring dozens of women, that when we do share with a trusted person our concerns, the very chains we want to be free from are indeed broken. The enemy has twisted another truth to keep most believers from being vulnerable and kept their hearts held hostage by not sharing.
Feelings are simply feelings. They are usually not facts, they don’t always have answers, but one thing consistent is they do reveal beliefs and matters of our heart. And vision is internal and quite simply a matter of the heart. My feelings are often tainted with loss of hope, being tired and falling prey to comparing my life with those around me. In the past, I have learned to guard my heart by watching what I read, watch and spend time around. It dawned on me that the reason perhaps I am exhausted is that even guarding my heart has become a lot of work and effort on my part. I was wondering what the Bible really says about that from our New covenant perspective.
So how do we get the vision for the year? How do we walk differently and gain a different result? I Timothy 1:2 says, “Grace, mercy and peace are from God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” I need grace- His favor, mercy- not getting what my performance deserves and peace which actually means that nothing is missing or broken in my life. I moved down to the 14th verse and read it in a new version, the Voice. I don’t know much about this version but I liked the way it expressed verse 14. “He poured His grace over me and I was flooded in an abundance of the grace, faith and love that can only be found in Jesus, the anointed. “ Perhaps when I stop and receive this kind of abundance of His grace that my faith in Him will awaken and I will gain new revelation of His love. And when I do, I will know clearly the way in which to walk and I will see with a new pair of glasses the way in which to go or perhaps gain understanding into the journey. All of us need a faith that can move mountains. The truth is that faith is not contingent on my faith. It is the faith of God to believe in who He is, not what I feel! It is the only type of faith that can move mountains in my life. It is interesting in this verse that faith is in the middle between grace and mercy. When I believe that I am surrounded by grace and mercy, then I can rise up and hope again. This is the fight of faith. If it were easy, Paul would not speak about the “fight of faith.” As Paul says in 2 Corinthians 4,
“We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair.9We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. We have the same kind of faith the psalmist had when he said, “I believed in God, so I spoke.” We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. It is why we never give up. 17For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! 18So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.
I was drawn to go back to Hosea 4:6. “My people perish for a lack of vision.” The Word vision is really the word, Knowledge which in the Hebrew language is the Word, “yada.” This word means intimate understanding and is the same word used in describing the intimate relationship between a man and woman. So what this verse is saying is my people perish when they lack knowing God. Most of us interpret God by our circumstances. He doesn’t love them if they don’t get what they want when desired. Truth may be He is protecting you or preparing you for that thing or… God is urging His people in Hosea to know Him. Today we live under a new covenant of grace that is not dependent upon our performance but rather rests on Jesus finished work. What this practically means is that when my eyes can’t see or I don’t understand, I trust His love, rest in His grace and mercy and let His faith move the mountains.
In 2015, let us choose to know Him, trust His heart as He directs our every step. This year I will not set my goals, put Him in a box but give lots of God room for Him to move mountains. And I just bet that this time next year we will look back and see the faithfulness of a loving Father bringing about His goodness in our lives in ways we could never have mapped out. And if next year has not been great for another, we will know exactly how to come alongside those and love them through it. That is authenticity. That is the body of Christ!