What comes to mind when you hear the words “dead vision?” Here is what goes off in my head: Done. Over. Finished. Expired. Lifeless. Nada. Nil. Nothing.
I was recently tempted to call a promise of God—that has not yet been fulfilled in my life—dead. You know what I’m talking about because you have one too—the vision God dropped into your heart years ago, and you are still waiting for it to happen.
As I pondered the cause for the delay, I wondered if I had done something to hinder God from fulfilling His word to me. No sooner than I put that issue to rest (by asking for forgiveness for whatever I might have done), another accusation quickly surfaced to replace it, and then another, and another. You will recognize them, because you’ve heard them too:
“Maybe I didn’t hear God right. Perhaps I am believing for something God never promised? I must be daydreaming to think this could come true. It’s impossible. Did I just make this up? I might as well face it, that vision is dead!”
A few days ago a daily devotional reading by Amy Carmichael spoke to this very issue. She wrote: “Our Lord Jesus has taught us to call the dead, the living.”1
It’s true. Hebrews 11:12 says: “Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born as many as the stars of the sky….” We know this as the fulfillment of God’s promise of a son to Abraham and Sarah very late in life. And in Romans 4:17 we read, “God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did.”
We are given a clear example of the good-as-dead body of Abraham and the obviously-dead womb of Sarah being called the living. By all accounts their vision appeared to be totally impossible. Yet, in the remaining verses of Romans 4 we read how Abraham found the faith and the courage to call those dead things, alive.
Contrary to hope, Abraham believed in hope. (vs.18)
Not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead since he was about a hundred years old. (vs. 19)
He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief. (vs. 20)
He was strengthened in faith and gave glory to God. (vs. 20)
He was fully convinced that what God had promised He was also able to perform. (vs. 21)
Notice the verb phrases in these scriptures: believed in hope; not being weak; did not consider; did not waver; was strengthened; gave glory; was fully convinced. These are the steps Abraham took while waiting upon God to fulfil the vision.
More modern-day language may sound like this: Don’t give up. Hang in there. Keep on keeping on. Stay the course. Trust when you don’t feel like it. Praise God anyway. Speak positive words of faith. Reaffirm your confidence in God.
Is it too late for us to apply these powerful verb phrases to our vision? Of course not! What if we were to defy the odds, disregard what we see, dismiss what we feel, disarm the voice of our enemy—and call our dead vision—alive! After all, if God Himself says something is alive, then it must be alive!
Hasn’t the enemy of our souls taunted us long enough with doubt and unbelief? As sons and daughters of Abraham, our father of faith, let’s tell God that we still believe He will fulfill His promise to us. Then we can move forward as if it is true, simply because God said so. ~ Janie Kellogg
1Amy Carmichael, Whispers of His Power, CLC Publications, Ft. Washington, PA, 1982, Pg. 121