Recently I've been thinking of how God strategically positions us exactly where He desires us to be for reasons we don't always recognize at the time.
“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:14-1
It struck me that the Lord has very specific “lampstands” where He places us. It might not seem like we are in any place of significance, but if we are in His will, we are there for a reason.
In this picture, the light is being held on the edge of a precipice, and the ship in the distance is receiving the warning because the light is at the right place at the right time. If the light was not there, the ship might be lost.
What is your “lampstand?” Maybe it's the grocery story where you run into someone and tell them about Jesus. Or perhaps is social media where you proclaim the truth of God's love. Maybe your lampstand is your home, where you can create a safe place for your family and then invite others into that place. Wherever it is, let your light shine! You never know who is watching and how your light impacts their journey.
Thunderhead: Write the Vision
I'm a total visionary, and even as a kid I was exploding with creative ideas. I remember making designs with watermelon juice on my paper plate during picnics and using flannel cloth from the rag bag to make prairie-style doll clothes. As we grow, sometimes our dreams become bigger and seem harder to accomplish. If we're prone to creative ideas, it's easy to write them off as “impossible” instead of hold on to that childlike creative streak.
When I was age 17, I had a dream that felt enormous, but I couldn't help hoping and praying it would come true! I'd always dreamed of singing my little original songs on stage, and I desperately wanted to share my music with my favorite recording artist that I heard on the radio. I happened to meet him one day at a backstage event, and he prayed for me out of the goodness of his heart. Like thousands of other teenagers, I really wanted to meet this man who played the piano and wrote pop songs. After about two years of desperately praying and hoping that I could somehow share my songs with him, a mentor gave me a piece of advice.
“Sometimes,” she said in matter-of-fact tone, “you just need to write your request and lay it before the Lord. If it's meant to be, He'll make a way. If not, then move on with your life.”
So I did: I wrote my request, laid it on my bedroom floor, and prayed. Nothing happened, so I buried the dream for about three years, moved across the state, and stopped writing songs. During that time I had some profound encounters with God and started to pick up music again and express myself in worship to God. One day I happened to be driving through the town I used to live in and noticed that my favorite pop star was doing a benefit concert and dinner in a local church. I decided to go, but I only had enough money for a concert ticket and not the meal beforehand.
A funny thing happened that night. I arrived to the church early and asked to meet with the pastor.
“Do you happen to have a little corner where I could pray?” I asked politely. “I'm coming to the concert, but I don't have a ticket to the dinner.”
To my surprise, the pop singer appeared and to my astonishment he remembered me from three years ago!
“Would you be my guest for the dinner?” he asked, and then he proceeded to walk me to the ticket table and purchase me a ticket with cash from his own wallet. Then he asked me to help him with the sound check, so I sat at the shiny grand piano in a daze, playing one of my little songs just like I had dreamed of doing years before. During dinner, I asked him every single question I'd ever wondered about the music industry. God had seen the prayer I had written down and laid before Him several years earlier, and just when He was about to call me into full time ministry and knew I would need some extra courage, He made my dream come true!
My point is this: God hears our prayers, but there is something special about writing down our dreams and visions. God told Habakkuk,
Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it. Hab. 2:2
Time and time again, I've seen God's plans unfold in ways that leave me startled with a sense of wonder and awe, and many of these were dreams that I've written down and laid before Him. It's a beautiful thing.
So if you feel like your head is in the clouds and exploding with ideas, write them down and lay them before the Lord. He knows exactly where He desires to take you, and you might be shocked at how He brings them to pass!
On a side note: I just opened up my non-profit, The Potter's House Creative Ministries! Part of the vision is to host monthly events for the community where we teach both kids and adults to write or draw what God is speaking to them. Find out more at: