Some visions are achieved in a short space of time; Nehemiah famously completed his wall around Jerusalem in 52 days. Most however, take much longer than this. In my experience, if the vision is from God, it often takes much longer than two months to see it come to fruition.
Consider the following:
- Moses spent 40 years leading the Israelites through the wilderness.
- Joshua spent 30 years conquering the tribes of Canaan.
- Paul spent years in prison waiting for the opportunity to be able to preach the Gospel in Rome.
- William Wilberforce spent 20 years fighting to abolish the slave trade.
- Wilberforce also took 20 years fighting to open up India to Christian missionaries.
If the vision is from God then we often need to persevere over it. What will you persevere over?
Never, never, will we desist till we have wiped away this scandal from the Christian name, released ourselves from the load of guilt, under which we at present labour, and extinguished every trace of this bloody traffic, of which our posterity, looking back to the history of these enlightened times, will scarce believe that it has been suffered to exist so long a disgrace and dishonour to this country.
When you discern a vision and believe it’s from God, ask yourself the following question. Would you be willing to persevere over this for the next 20 years?
It’s not always the case that it will take that long. And it’s not always the case that the vision isn’t from God if you find yourself answering ‘no’ to that question. But it’s always worth asking.
Wilberforce’s perseverance over two visions led to the end of the transatlantic slave trade, and to a new period of missionary work in India. It’s always worth persevering if the vision is from God.
Mark Williamson works as a director of One Rock. He’s an experienced leadership trainer, author of biographies on John Wesley and William Wilberforce, and is also passionate about praying for London. He enjoys good films, good food, and going for long walks with his wife Joanna. You can follow him on Twitter @markonerock.