In 1959 Walt Disney began looking for land to build a second resort to complement his Anaheim, California, park. Supposedly he was not happy with the many businesses that sprung up around Disneyland and wanted enough land to control the development around his next park.
It wasn’t until 1963 that Disney flew over the Orlando, Florida, area and finally decided on this location. The process of acquiring the land and building the park took 9 years. Disney died in 1966 before The Magic Kingdom opened in 1971.
At the opening ceremony Disney’s wife, Lillian, was in attendance. Supposedly someone turned to her and said, “Lillian, it’s a shame Walt is not here to see this. To which she replied, “”He did see it, or it wouldn’t be here.”
Lillian’s response speaks to the power, potential, and value of vision. It also reminds us that one of the great components of vision is faith.
Our theme this year is “2020 Vision: Restoring our Focus.” This month I’m preaching at the Northside church in Pompano Beach on this subject. Last Sunday our topic was “The Vision of Faith.” Here are the main points of that sermon.
#1 Faith’s Vision Sees the Unseen.
The best Bible definition of faith is found in Hebrews 11:1. “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”
When the eyes of our understanding are spiritually enlightened (Eph 1:18), we can see the unseen. God our Father. Jesus our savior. The Holy Spirit our helper. And the hope of our heavenly reward.
Like Paul, we can survive any hardship, overcome any difficulty, and persist through any problem when “we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen” (2 Cor 4:18).
The prolific author anonymous wrote, “Faith sees the invisible, believes the incredible and receives the impossible.”
#2 Faith’s Vision Casts Out the Monster of Fear
Matthew records an occasion when Peter and the disciples were on a boat on the Sea of Galilee at night. When Jesus came to them walking on the water, Peter asked if could come to Him on the water. And Jesus said, “Come on.”
Peter did walk on the water for a bit, but the text says when he saw how boisterous the wind was, “he was afraid and began to sink.”
As little children we all had those monsters that scared us. Whether hiding under our bed or lurking outside our bedroom window, they frightened and either rendered us motionless or caused us to run. As adults, fear will sink us emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.
Fear makes faith flounder. When our vision is clear and we’re firmly focused on our faith, we can overcome our fears. I love the old English proverb: “Fear knocked at the door. Faith answered. And no one was there.”
#3 Faith’s Vision Dispels the Cloud of Doubt.
After Peter sank, and Jesus lifted him up from the water, He said, “O you of little faith. Why did you doubt?”
Did Peter’s doubts feed his fears? Or did his fears foster his doubts? Either way doubt and fear are often coupled together.
Doubt wonders, “What if it doesn’t work? What if I fail?”
Doubt accusingly asks, “Why did God allow this terrible tragedy to occur?
Doubt incriminates God by saying, “Where was He when I needed Him?
Doubt creeps in through the cracks and in a sinister and snide way tells you that you aren’t good enough, strong enough, or worthy enough.
It takes Faith’s vision to dissipate doubt’s depressing clouds.
#4 Faith’s Vision Disregards Unfounded Feelings.
There’s an old country song by Barbara Mandrell entitled “How Can It Be Wrong (When It Feels So Right?) That’s the mantra of today’s world.
Too often our moral and religious choices are founded on feelings. The wise man warned, “There is a way that seems right unto a man, but its end is the way of death” (Prov. 14:12).
Feelings are fleeting. Subjective. And deceptive. God’s Word is constant. Objective. And trustworthy. “Have faith in God,” not fanciful feelings.
#5 Faith’s Vision Provides Clarity when the Cross Seems Heavy and Hard to Bear.
Jesus taught that discipleship involves cross-bearing. It involves sacrifice. Surrender to God’s will. And self-denial. That’s not always easy. But faith sees the virtue and value of being crucified with Christ.
We may have to bear the cross through times of sickness and suffering. Rejection by family and friends. Financial or personal misfortune. Or tragedy and death. When these occur, open your spiritual eyes and get a glimpse of faith’s vision.
Faith believes what it cannot literally see. Its focus is upward. Its vision is forward. And its eternal reward is to one day see what it chooses to believe.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman