Recently, our home was struck by a high-end EF2 tornado. We sustained damage to our home, property, and our hearts. Now that we are a few weeks out from this traumatic event and the proverbial dust has settled, there is once again room for quiet perspective. We live in a world that is crying out for the sons and daughters of God to show themselves and for freedom to manifest (Romans 8:18-24). I do believe He is in us, and we are alive in him, so therefore even our circumstances are now subject to His glory and majesty (Psalm 3:3).
To give some context, we live in a large, beautiful home on 2.5 acres in the middle of Oklahoma. Our house and land came to us with an interesting and somewhat violent history attached to them. We have always known that the land and home were not given to us flippantly, but purposefully and by the Lord with his intention to FULLY OCCUPY this territory. This reality was fresh in my heart one morning following the storm as I was making my crew breakfast. My eyes landed upon the boarded-up window in our dining room. This window is one of my favorite places to sit and look out upon the land the Lord has given us. It’s a portal through which I can see so many of my favorite things all at once. It overlooks my garden and the beautiful rolling landscape which is home to many stately trees. I can see the long, curving driveway upon which my children race up and down on their scooters and bikes. I can see the peaceful pond that was once an awkwardly shaped and unsightly “hill” overrun with territorial hornets. It is now the gathering place for our family many evenings. This pond was painstakingly dug and designed by my husband as a declaration that this space is now ours. It is a symbolic sword in the soil if you will. I can also see the space where the Jubilee Roses I planted a year ago have grown from nothing but bare roots into strong branches holding brilliant blooms that declare the time of the Lord’s favor through Jesus has now come.
All of this I can see from this one, lone window. But now, on this morning, my natural view has been blocked by a set of mangled blinds and a large piece of plywood, and a sheet of plastic- set to keep the unwanted elements from entering where they don’t belong. The light and life that is behind the window have slowed as weeks of cleanup have turned the once free, rolling hills into a yard of mud, tire traps, and the sumps of the once majestic trees a century in the making. I wrote in a previous post about the distinct and overwhelming feeling of sacrificial love that surrounded me the first morning following the storm- and that feeling remains even now. What struck me the most this particular morning was not the damage or the work that is yet to be done, but the lack of sight in the natural.
My vision in the natural has been blocked. Interfered with. But an even greater vision remains- the eyes of my heart, the vision of hope that comes with His presence. This is where we begin to see the wonder of Ephesians 3 coming to life on the inside of us. When our natural vision is blocked, we return to the root and the source of all our outward growth- His love. His vision, in partnership with our imagination and through the power of his Holy Spirit, brings His Glory upon the Earth. The Hebrew word for imagination is ‘yetser’ and it carries within it the meaning of conception. Our imagination is our spiritual womb. In this space, we partner with the Holy Spirit to bring life. What looked like destruction in one moment now looks like an opportunity exploding with the fruitfulness of new life. Life that He desires, for He is in its midst.
The place and the window through which my natural eyes gaze upon His creation has been, albeit temporarily, blocked. The landscape looks shockingly different. As I sat outside on the front steps, surveying the gaping holes that now exist, He spoke. “Do not see the ground as merely torn and rent. See it as plowed, tilled, and ready to receive seed.” So while there’s sadness over what has been lost, there is also the knowing that the plowing must always preceded the planting. Tilling of the ground always foreruns the harvest. And while there’s weeping in the night, joy will come again in the morning light.
From the place of vision we create, we ‘be’, we live. Proverbs 29 says that without vision, people perish. We can stand to reason that with vision, people flourish. When our natural vision feels blocked, whether by plyboard or circumstance or prognosis, may we open our spiritual eyes even wider so that we can receive His vision, his plans. May we, with such delight, dare to imagine, dream and hope for His exceedingly abundantly above all. Because when we do, life is created. When we do, Jesus is seen in all His victory. Holy Spirit is beheld in all of his wondrous grace and possibility. And The Father is known, deeply known, by the love he pours into our hearts.