Naming Grace

Keep the vision

In the middle of death and violence, the prophet Habakkuk cries out: “How Long, O Lord, How Long?” Then, speaking on behalf of God, the prophet responds to the desperate plea of God’s chosen: “Write down the vision; Make it plain upon tablets, so that the one who reads it may run. For the vision is a witness for the appointed time, a testimony to the end; it will not disappoint. If it delays, wait for it, it will surely come, it will not be late.” The vision is for justice, peace, redemption, and salvation. We set our vision on Heaven and the kingdom of Heaven on earth.

Write down the vision, post it in your home, carry it in your heart, and pass it on to the next generation and the next. Keep the vision—no matter what, for we know through Christ’s resurrection, life, hope, joy, peace, and justice will prevail. Love overcomes everything—even in the face of mass shootings, drug addiction, depression, discrimination, or divorce, God promises will not disappoint—even if it takes more than a lifetime.

In the novel, Once We Were Brothers, the main character, Benjamin Solomon, is a Jewish holocaust survivor, who kept the vision—believing in God’s goodness despite the evil surrounding him. He continued to speak of God’s faithfulness when in the depths of destruction. Like Mr. Solomon, when all seems dark in our hearts, homes, or culture, we must stir into flame our faith to see beyond the current moment, the recent disappointment, the latest setback, the present struggle, or the shattered relationship. Keep the vision by writing God’s words, remembering God’s promises, and following God’s will.

Many coaches encourage athletes to visualize the desired outcome; “If you can see it, you can achieve it.” Many consultants advise clients to create vision boards, providing an ever-present reminder of the goal—giving strength and perseverance. As Christians, we can create vision boards (such as our ancestors did through stain-glassed windows) to keep God’s vision ever before us—remembering His promises and concentrating on His ministry. God’s vision is to increase our faith—not for self-gratification but for His glory.

A Christian couple takes a day at the beginning of each new year to refocus on God’s vision for their family. Each January brings a new vision board: scripture quotes to memorize, virtues to practice, service to give, and family celebrations. As parents/grandparents, we name grace—God’s creative presence—by helping our children and grandchildren to keep the vision: a saint to emulate, new prayers to learn, a piggy bank for the poor, a picture of the Good Shepherd. As a married couple, a vision board could comprise a picture of a couple praying together, an evening reserved for renewing vows, or discovering a new hobby together.

Keep the vision before you—the day you vowed to love until death do you part, baptized your children, received communion, promised friendship, etc.  And when life clouds with difficulties—a child leaving the faith, a spouse losing a job, sickness snatching a loved one’s body or mind, a friend betraying—remember God’s promise of a future filled with hope, here and in Heaven. Stir into flame, increase your faith, and keep the vision! He will not abandon us but will grant an abundance of faith, hope, and love, especially in the Eucharist. Now’s that good news!

How do you keep God’s vision before you and your family?

Naming Grace in the Domestic Church reflects on Scripture through the lens of a parent/grandparent. To read more reflections or to connect with Mary Pedersen: