God Has a Plan

Some would like to think that the whole human race is the children of God, but not so. It is true that we are a creation of God, but from a relationship perspective, all are separated from God by sin. The Scripture tells us that before salvation we were children of wrath; “…you were by nature children of wrath, but God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us…made us alive together with Christ.” (Ephesians 2:3-5)

When we put our trust in Christ we became someone we have never been before. We passed from death unto life. We are now a new creation with a new worldview. We once followed the world’s perspective on life, now we have a new perspective.

This new perspective/worldview affects everything in our life. We now see the world through the eyes of God’s Word. Our reaction to the world’s disappointments and failures now has a spiritual component. We realize God is involved in every aspect of our life, and with that involvement He has a divine plan and purpose. When we hurt or suffer a great loss God is there to comfort us, but sometimes He often reveals a divine purpose in our suffering.

To illustrate my point I want to share a story recently sent to me by a dear friend. It’s the story of how the old gospel song “Precious Lord” came about.

“Back in 1932, I was a fairly new husband. My wife, Nettie and I were living in a little apartment on Chicago’s south side. One hot August afternoon I had to go to St. Louis where I was to be the featured soloist at a large revival meeting. I didn’t want to go; Nettie was in the last month of pregnancy with our first child, but a lot of people were expecting me in St. Louis. I kissed Nettie goodbye, clattered downstairs to our Model A and, in a fresh Lake Michigan breeze, chugged out of Chicago on Route 66.

However, outside the city, I discovered that in my anxiety at leaving, I had forgotten my music case. I wheeled around and headed back. I found Nettie sleeping peacefully. I hesitated by her bed; something was strongly telling me to stay But eager to get on my way, and not wanting to disturb Nettie, I shrugged off the feeling and quietly slipped out of the room with my music.

The next night, in the steaming St. Louis heat, the crowd called on me to sing again and again. When I finally sat down, a messenger boy ran up with a Western Union telegram. I ripped open the envelope. on the yellow sheet were the words: YOUR WIFE JUST DIED.

People were happily singing and clapping around me, but I could hardly keep from crying out. I rushed to a phone and called home. All I could hear on the other end was “Nettie is dead. Nettie is dead.'”

When I got back, I learned that Nettie had given birth to a boy. I swung between grief and joy. Yet that same night, the baby died. I buried Nettie and our little boy together, in the same casket. Then I fell apart. For days I closeted myself. I felt that God had done me an injustice. I didn’t want to serve Him anymore or write gospel songs I just wanted to go back to that jazz world I once knew so well. But then, as I hunched alone in that dark apartment those first sad days, I thought back to the afternoon I went to St. Louis.

Something kept telling me to stay with Nettie. Was that something God? Oh, if I had paid more attention to Him that day, I would have stayed and been with Nettie when she died.

From that moment on I vowed to listen more closely to Him. But still I was lost in grief. Everyone was kind to me, especially one friend. The following Saturday evening he took me up to Maloney’s Poro College, a neighborhood music school. It was quiet; the late evening sun crept through the curtained windows.

I sat down at the piano, and my hands began to browse over the keys. Something happened to me then. I felt at peace. I felt as though I could reach out and touch God. I found myself playing a melody. Once in my head they just seemed to fall into place: ‘Precious Lord, take my hand, lead me on, let me stand, I am tired, I am weak, I am worn, through the storm, through the night, lead me on to the light, take my hand, precious Lord, lead me home.’

The Lord gave me these words and melody, He also healed my spirit. I learned that when we are in our deepest grief, when we feel farthest from God, this is when He is closest, and when we are most open to His restoring power.

And so I go on living for God willingly and joyfully, until that day comes when He will take me and gently lead me home.”

Tommy Dorsey

(For those too young to know who he is, Tommy Dorsey was a well-known band leader in the 1930’s and 40’s.)

God’s answers are wiser than our prayers.

Death of a Vision


The human is unique to all of God’s creation in several ways, but the most distinguishing feature is the need to produce and excel in life. Within every believer God places desires and ambitions that are unique to them.  There are some who are able to discern and discover what they are to do with their life at an early age. But more often than not, it takes many years for most adults to get it all figured out and discover their calling.

There are many elements to a calling, such as natural giftedness and talent, a burning desire, how we relate to people, spiritual gifts and experience.  Sometimes those elements are present from early on in our life but most often they develop as we step toward and participate in our calling. However, these are all secondary elements to our calling.

The primary aspect of a calling is the vision God births in our heart. One way we know that our vision is from God is it’s impossible for us to accomplish apart from His supernatural intervention. We see this throughout Scripture as God calls His servants to a particular task for a certain time in history.

Visions from God have a unique aspect that separates it from how man normally operates.  When God gives a vision there is usually a time where the vision seems to die.  This is called “death of a vision.” We see this pattern throughout Scripture.  Joseph was given a dream and vision about him rising to political prominence over his brothers. But the next events led him to being sold as a slave and then being put in prison and falsely accused.

Abraham was told to leave his home and set out on a journey and God would tell him later where to go. One night God said to Abraham, “Look in the sky, how many stars you see?” Abraham said, “There are too many, I can’t count them.” Then God said, “That’s how many people will come from your seed.”  You can imagine how excited Abraham was to learn that his children would birth a whole nation; so many that you can’t even count them.  But twenty years later, Abraham was older and his wife was past child bearing age. His vision was dead – even biologically impossible.

Death of a vision is a pattern throughout scripture and it is a pattern that is often seen today among believers. God must have a divine purpose in the death of a vision.  It is part of a death process that must be present in every believer in order to be productive in the Kingdom.

Paul gives us a glimpse of the purpose and the value of a death process in 2 Corinthians 4:7-12 where he conveys the principle of dying to our self-life.

“We are afflicted…perplexed…persecuted…struck down….always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our body. For we who live are constantly being delivered over to the death for Jesus‘sake that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. So death works in us but life in you.”   

In order for the life of Christ to be manifested throughout our life, we must go through a death process, putting to death everything that hinders His life from shining through us.  In God’s economy of things the death process actually prepares us for the day when He will fulfill the vision He has placed on our heart.  During Joseph’s and Abraham’s death of a vision God prepared them in ways that could not have been possible apart from the failures, disappointments and delays they encountered while waiting on God to bring the vision to pass.  But when God finally fulfilled their vision, wow what a spectacle. God miraculously birthed more than they ever thought or imagined.

I vividly remember the day when I sensed God’s call for me to enter full-time ministry. I remember where I was sitting in the church service. The call was so real that I looked at my wife wondering if she heard the same thing I heard.in the weeks and months that followed I felt as if God was going to call us to the mission field. Matter of fact I just knew somehow we would be involved in missions somewhere in the world.  When I left for Bible College the plans changed and I ended up training to be a pastor. My vision for missions was dead. When I rethought what God was saying to me regarding missions, I thought maybe He just wants me to support missions as a pastor. I did that, but there was still that strong pull toward personal, hands on mission involvement.

But fifteen years later God began to fulfill the vision He had given me for missions.  After my first mission trip into Russia, Romania, and Hungary, I knew that this was the end of the “death of a vision” and the beginning of the fulfillment of God’s plan. Over the past 20 years God has verified that calling and we have seen abundant fruit on several continents.

Here is my observation.  God allows the death of a vision in order to do at least two things. First, He wants to rid us of all those things that are inconsistent with “who we are in Christ”.  God’s calling is a serious matter and it’s important that God prepares us for spiritual warfare.  You can’t do battle with the enemy when you are out of shape spiritually.

Secondly, God allows the death of a vision to cause us to come to the conclusion that we cannot “make it happen” on our own.  God’s call always involves the impossible. Chances are if you can do it without God’s help and supernatural intervention, then it’s probably not of God.

Are you carrying around the “death of a vision?” Do you yet have an unfulfilled vision waiting for God’s intervention and open door?  Remember, if God has given us a vision, He has already equipped us to fulfill His calling in our life.  (Romans 5:3-5, Romans 8:28)  When God is ready He will open the doors, clear the way and make it possible.  Just maybe it’s time to begin crying out to God in behalf of your vision? I leave you with a chorus from an old gospel song that conveys the importance of praying through.

“Just keep on praying, till the light breaks through.
The Lord will answer, will answer you.
God keeps his promise, his word is true,
Just keep on praying, till the light breaks through.”