When my son was about twelve years old he asked us if he could have a cell phone. At the time, we did not think that a twelve year old would be responsible enough for one, so our answer was "No, not yet." He was pretty determined and did everything he could think of to get us to change our minds. But our answer was always the same, "No, not yet." We knew that he was not ready to handle the responsibility that came with owning your own cell phone and so our answer, for the next few years was "No, not yet." He understood eventually and was willing to wait until we felt that he was responsible enough to handle the rules and the guidelines that we were going to set for him. At the age of 14 we finally fulfilled his desire and we purchased him his very first cell phone. He was very responsible and did (mostly) stick to the rules we set forth. In the end, he agreed that it was the best thing for him to wait.
Lately, the Lord has been reminding me of this lesson that we taught our son. The lesson that no doesn't always mean no, sometimes it just means, "not yet." Sometimes the Lord wants us to wait because He knows that we are not responsible enough to handle what He has prepared for us. Sometimes, He wants us to grow up a little bit before He gives us what our hearts desire.
When I first started on this journey of building a business, I had a vision, a dream that the Lord had given me. I set out on the road to follow the steps the Lord was placing before me and He blessed me and continues to bless me above and beyond all that I could ever ask or think. But there is one area of the vision that has not yet come to pass. I thought that perhaps it was not part of His plan, perhaps it was my dream and not His dream for me. Perhaps it was my will and not His will. But the other day, that same vision came back and hit me square in the face. I knew without a doubt that it was part of His plan, and that He had every intention of fulfilling Iit. I began to pray, and to seek and to ask for godly wisdom. I pondered on the life of Joseph and of Abraham. I was reminded that they too had a vision. They too had dreams and promises from God, and they had to wait for them.
"Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end- it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay. Behold his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him, but the righteous shall live by his faith." Habakkuk 2:2-4 ESV
Would you set out on a long journey without knowing where you were going? Would you build a house without having blueprints? No, of course you wouldn't. We must have a plan. We must write out the vision that we have. To write out means to make a plan, to fine tune the ideas and dreams that you have. Do you have a business plan? Do you have a mission statement? A purpose? Your ministry- what direction do you want it to take? What fruit do you want to see come from it? Write it out and make it plain so you know which way you need to run.
"For which of you, desiring to build a tower does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?" Luke 14:28
Set forth your plans, your vision, your dream, whatever this journey is that you are on, write out the directions you need to take. You won't know what to do unless you first know where you are going. Count the cost and do your research. What you put into your dream is the fruit you are going to get out of it.
The Lord tells Habakkuk that there is an appointed time to the vision that he has. This reminds me of my favorite scripture verse of all time, Ephesians 2:10. There is a plan and a purpose laid out for each and every one of us. God has prepared and planned our every moment of this life. Your vision, your dream, it will come to pass, in the appointed time God has prepared for it.
Think about spring time. The long winters bring a promise of spring, but sometimes it feels like it will never come. We hope for it, we anticipate it, but we cannot predict the day it will arrive. We can see glimpses of it in the trees and flowers as they start to bring forth buds, but there is no way to know when it will actually happen. But, at the appointed time, the trees will bring forth their fruit and the flowers will bring forth their beauty. There is nothing we can do to force spring to come, all we can do is wait for it with hopeful anticipation.
Look at Joseph's life. He had a dream at the age of seventeen, but it was years before the Lord brought it to pass. We must wait for it. We must plan for it, prepare for it, but most importantly, we must wait for it. God knows that when the time is right, when we have grown and matured, when we are ready to support the fruit He is going to produce from it, then He will bring the vision to pass. Your dream, your vision that set you on this path is not a "No" but a "Not Yet." He will fulfill it in His time, not yours.
The Lord God knows what you need to learn, what trials you need to face and what pruning needs to be done before He can fulfill the vision He gave you at the beginning of this journey. Don't be hasty, and act in the foolishness of your pride. Don't be puffed up with the vision so much that you miss the most important blessing of all- the blessing of learning to wait and trust in the timing of the Lord. Your faith my friend is not in the vision, but in the Lord of the vision. Wait for it, even if it seems like it will never come, wait for it. He is not saying "No", He just might be saying, "Not yet." Amen?