‘What do YOU see?’ was the question my daughter Beth excitedly asked me, emphasizing the ‘you’. She was visiting us from Germany for my 80th birthday and she was referring to a story on the internet that had gone viral. The story began just before a wedding that was being held in Scotland. The mother of the bride sent a picture to her daughter asking what she thought of her dress. It turns out that the bride and the groom looked at the image and each saw different colors. One saw the dress as white and gold. The other saw it as blue and black. They posted it online, asking their friends to settle the argument. Their friends also couldn’t agree and the image went viral, setting the Internet alight initially being viewed over 24 million times.
So the question my daughter asked me was, ‘What do you see?’ I went to my iMac and pulled up the image of the dress, showing it to my wife Dorothy. Beth and I saw it as white and gold, however Dorothy immediately saw it as blue and black. There are scientific reasons for why each person sees it differently, although I understand in reality the dress is actually blue and black.
But the question remains, ‘What do you see?’ ‘What do you see?’ is an arresting statement that caught the attention of my wife and I and sent us seeking the Lord. Here is some of what we came up with –
WHAT DO YOU ‘SEE’ LORD?
During the summer of 1977, while I was still at that time living in Australia, I travelled to America and, amongst other things, attended the Kansas City Charismatic Conference (the largest one ever held in America). The evening meetings were held in the Kansas City Chief’s Football Arena. Being the editor of Vision Magazine, a national magazine in Australia, I had press credentials and was able to sit in the press box on the 50 yard line in air conditioned comfort, while everyone else sweltered in the evening summer heat. It was a strange experience, as the press box was full of all sorts of people, some secular reporters. One of them asked me, ‘Hey, is that speaking in tongues?’ Other Christian reporters were entering into it all. As I sat there, a phrase came into my mind, based on the fact that I was in the conference meeting but I was slightly removed from it as I looked down from the press box, high above the football field. The phrase was ‘A View from the Top’ and this became my prayer, ‘Lord, give me a view from the top. I want to see things from where you are. I want to see things as you see them.’
Now, I can’t say I have always been able to do that but that is my heart desire and one of the reasons for the Langstaff Letters. I want to share the vision of what I sense God sees. You see, many times, we look at things from our personal position, or our church and ministry, or our area, state or even our nation, but God wants to lift us up so that we might see things form His perspective. I encourage you to do just that. Ask God to show you what He sees, to get revelation that comes from Him.
WHAT DO YOU ‘SEE’ FOR YOUR CHURCH OR YOUR MINISTRY
I initially trained as an architect, so when I first was in ministry over 50 years ago, I approached it the same way as I did architecture: I planned everything out. After all, you don’t start constructing a building without a plan of what the finished building would look like. As a result, I had a master plan for my church, which I set out on a display board on my study wall. I brought my wife into look at it and after gazing at it for some time, she uttered the unforgettable words, ‘There must be a better way.’
Despite her discouraging words, I pressed on with the plans, but, to my dismay, the plans and hopes I had were never fulfilled. It wasn’t until years later that I fully understood why. At a pastor’s conference, Roy Hicks Sr from America recounted a prophetic word God had given to his denomination ‘Hithertoo you have made your plans and asked Me to bless them, but from now on I want you to get my plans, for those are the only ones that I will bless.’
We often quote Proverbs 29:18 which states, ‘Where there is no progressive vision (or revelation), the people go astray (or cast off restraints).’ But it needs to be God’s vision, not yours. We need to be seeking the Lord as to His vision for our ministry. What are His plans? What does He want to see happen? We need a revelation from Him.
We are not just to be an organization that simply is in a maintenance mode. We are instead to be moving ahead to advance the kingdom of God in our midst, our area, our part of the Lord’s vineyard, but it has to be His vision for ‘unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain, who builds it.’ Psalm 127:1
Just recently, I was at a small pastor’s gathering where a vision was shared of God bringing revival down the Minnesota River Valley. A vision that I witnessed to and I believe our church can be a part of, as we are in Chaska, directly north of the Minnesota River. We need to seek Him for our part in it all.
WHAT DO YOU ‘SEE’ IN GOD’S WORD?
Psalm 119:18 declares, ‘Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things from Your law.’ As a young Christian, I was introduced to an organization called Scripture Union, which encouraged Christians to read, study and meditate on the Bible every day. Psalm 119:18 was our prayer before we were to read the daily portion of scripture.
I am amazed that, even though I have been a Christian for over 60 years, and in ministry for over 50 years, I still can find fresh revelation out of God’s word. Like a gold mine, there is always more to dig into, finding treasures in God’s word. What do you see in God’s word? When we read God’s word, we need the Holy Spirit to bring us revelation, so we can begin to see what God sees for us in His word.
WE NEED TO ‘SEE’ IN THE SPIRITUAL REALM
This can apply in so many areas of our lives, when we are not just to look at our circumstances, but at the spiritual reality that is at work. We need to see things as God sees them, as His will is revealed in His word.
Circumstances are real, but the word of God is the truth over them. We need to see the truth of God’s word in the midst of life, no matter how troubling it may be. See things as God sees them.
WHAT TO YOU ‘SEE’ FOR AMERICA NOW?
There was a time when Jesus wept over Jerusalem. He saw the city but He also saw its future destruction. He said, ‘If you had known, even you, especially in this day, the things that make for peace. But now, they are hidden from your eyes.’ In other words, they could not see beyond the natural, the here and now, because, as Jesus said, ‘You did not know the time of your visitation.’ Jesus prophesied the destruction of Jerusalem that came about 40 years later.
Sometimes I wonder if Christians in America are failing to see the seriousness of the hour in which we live and the need to earnestly pray for revival to come to this land. We need to be asking the Lord to show us what He sees coming for America, not just what the politicians and commentators declare. We need to see America as God sees it.
ONE FINAL WORD
There is a wonderful promise in Jeremiah 33:3, ‘Call unto me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty thing which you do not know. Let’s do that and if we do, we will get His answer to ‘What do YOU see?’