The year of vision.
The year of change.
The year of greatness.
The best year of our lives.
Or at least, that’s what 2020 was supposed to be, but boy, oh boy, the plot twists that were thrown our way.
Thinking back over the past months as the curtain falls on 2020 and a new year encroaches, I’ve done a lot of journaling. I have reflected and weighed out the good of the year with the bad, and decided what I will take for the road and what I will leave behind.
Most of my journaling recently has been a lot of mind work. As I started to tackle my intentions for the year, I realized one word kept floating around whenever I thought about 2021.
The word you ask?
It’s funny, because for many, 2020 was the year of vision. That was their word, but I headed into it with grace, and Lord knows I needed a ton of that in 2020. However, 2021 is looking to be my year of vision because currently, I can’t see one foot into the fog that surrounds me.
So much of my life is up in the air, the future is unclear, unsteady, and dependent on people’s decisions and actions instead of my own. As a control freak this is never fun, but God has given me a lot of opportunities to work on it.
However, as much as the word Vision resonates with me for 2021, Trust is coming up a lot too. Do I really need more vision? No, I don’t. I have enough vision. I have the five-year plan, the dreamy aesthetic of how I want the year to go, the grandiose fantasy of how I wish everything will play out….so, haha, nope! I don’t need more vision.
Well, MY vision at least.
I don’t need more vision, I need to trust in the vision that God, not me, has set in place before I was even born. Even when that vision freaks the daylights out of me and I would rather eat nails than put myself in a position where my vision–er, God’s vision–could fall apart and leave me to pick up the pieces.
Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.
Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.
But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
“Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” Matthew 14:22-32 (NIV)
I will be the first to admit that I’m not a trusting person. Even those I’m closest with, I have a hard time talking about my feelings and in general letting people in, so trust is a concept that has been interesting to grapple with.
If we look at the passage above, what do we see? The disciples see Jesus in the wee hours of the morning (3 AM to be exact) walking towards them on the lake, and while I don’t make it a habit to be up that late, I have plenty of times and let me just tell you, it’s dark.
If Jesus was further out on the water from where the disciples were on the shore, the mist from the water rising and creating a thin veil…yeah, I can totally see why they would be terrified. It was basically nighttime and here was Jesus, or to them this figure, walking towards them on the water. That wasn’t practical in real life, so it had to be a ghost, right? Right?
They mistook Jesus for a ghost because they couldn’t see. They didn’t have 20/20 vision.
Thus, Jesus says to them, “Oh, ye of so little faith.”
I could go into 2021 with so much vision, so many ideas, and so many plans, but without faith, without trust, nothing will come of them if I’m not willing to step out of the boat God has set me in and walk upon the water…even if the fog is so unclear I can’t see a foot in front of me.
Think about it, you can make as many goals as you want, as many plans as you can plan, and dream as many dreams as you want but the outcome will be null if we don’t put them into action, start walking, and venture into the unknown.
2 Corinthians 2:5 says, “we walk by faith and not by sight”.
My sister and I loved to pretend we were blind when we were kids. The concept of it fascinated us as it was something we were blessed to not be able to fathom, and since we didn’t know what it was like to not have sight, we decided to immerse ourselves by closing our eyes and allowing the other to lead us around the house.
It was terrifying to eight-year-old me, each step felt like I was walking out into nothing, and as I gripped my sister’s hand, I realized she was the only thing keeping me from falling, hitting my head on some furniture, or walking into something. I was a hundred-percent dependent on her during that game, and while it left nervous fluttering in my stomach and set my heart racing, I loved the thrill of it. No matter how nervous we were doing it, we always came back for more.
This is what it feels like to walk out onto the water with God. We are fully dependent upon Him to hold us up above the waves despite the rain, the wind, and the uncertainty of it all because just like God’s voice was to Peter out on the water, so is His voice to us today.
Despite his fear and the adrenaline pouring throughout his body, Peter knew that if he could just hear Jesus’s voice, he would be okay. He would go out there and join him.
Psalm 19:105 says, “Your word is a lamp unto my feet.”
Psalm 19 says, “Your commandment is enlightening to my eye.”
Stepping into the new year, many of us hold reservations. What will the following months hold? Will COVID end? Will I still have a job? Will I be able to pay my bills? Will….if….what….and we all wish we had a clearer vision of what lay ahead. It is in times like these, when we need to trust that His Word, His promises, and His love will be the vision that we need to see clearly in the middle of the fog.
If I had known ahead of time, half the things that have happened in my life, I probably would have never gotten out of my boat and even tried to achieve them, but when I walk in Christ and use His vision, even if it isn’t always clear, the dreams I dream, the plans I create, and the hopes I have, see the light and come to fruition.
But only through His grace and my obedience to say: “Lord, I don’t know what in the world is going to happen if I do X, Y, Z, but I’m trusting in Your vision. Let’s see what happens.”
Are you ready?
I know I’m not, but hey.
That’s where trust comes in.