The children of Israel thought freedom in a land flowing with milk and honey was a fantastic idea. Excitement swept over them as preparation was made to leave the horrors of a life of slavery behind, while visions of sugarplums danced in their heads. My, how things changed once they were on the road to their dreams. Destiny always seems better when dreamed. Reality just isn’t the same. For this reason, many prefer to just dream. It’s neater and much more pleasant without the pains, disappointments, and struggles of actually making a dream a reality. There is no such thing as unrealistic expectations in a dream. The sky is the limit. Who cares about actual potential, resources, planning, or any of those other insignificant details? They don’t matter when you can dream.
The problem is, life is not a dream and it doesn’t take place in a dreamscape—it has to be lived out in the real world. If dreams are to become reality, we must face reality and quit living in a fantasy realm held up by empty talk and pseudo-faith phrases. A vision from God is greater than the adversarial circumstances of life, but it is neither ignorant of nor blind to them. A true vision from God has the ability to face the most adverse circumstances—but not on its own.
It requires a dreamer becoming a true visionary. One who understands the realities of life and is willing to march headlong through them all, unrelenting in his or her course. A true visionary is completely unwilling to spend his or her life doing nothing but dreaming. To them, having a dream you are not willing to pay the price to attain is greater torture than the grueling task of making a dream a reality. They understand that every dream comes with a very high price and requires unwavering commitment.
A vision will ultimately cost you your life. It will not happen overnight. It will take years—and sometimes, all the years you have. But it’s what makes the journey worth taking. Without it, we are not on a journey; we are just wandering around in hopeless circles. With it, our journey has purpose, and even the problems we face have purpose.
Our purpose is to fulfill the vision God has placed in our hearts. Our enemy’s purpose is to keep us from it. Like opposing forces facing each other on the field of combat, we know the reason we are here, and we also know the reason our enemy is here. We understand that the price of victory is anything but cheap and easy. This is no illusionary conflict without real casualties. This is the real deal—where one goes home and the other does not.
Visions are that way; we either win or we lose. There is no in between. To lose is unacceptable. To win is our only course. Paul understood this when he said, “Forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” These words were penned by a man who understood quite well the high price of fulfilling a God-given vision.
That must be our spirit also if we will be visionaries; for dreamers only it is not necessary. They can just sit and dream, but a visionary does not have that luxury. They march against the status quo into the unconquered regions, where the finger of God points the way. They face the unrelenting opposition of the adversary, the heckling and jeering thoughts hurled at the speed of light against their minds, all the while refusing the luxury of quitting. Undaunted by all that resists their forward movement, they press on. Sure, they would like an easier life, but not if it means the one without vision. That is a price too high to pay.
These are the ones we read of in the eleventh chapter of Hebrews. These are the ones whose lives are worthy of emulation. Having long since laid self on the altar of obedience to a heavenly vision, they have counted the cost of victory and defeat and found the price of defeat much too high. Their decision made, their die cast, they forge on with their face set like a flint.
Sometimes we become impatient or get aggravated when circumstances come against us continually, blurring the vision and our hopes of fulfilling it. Sometimes we lose sight of the bigger picture and get lost in the circumstance of the moment. The real problem is our perspective. The journey is worth it after all—and actually becomes a part of the experience. It’s the fabric that memories, visions and history are made of.