God had given me a vision for the Promised Land to come, and I remember searching along back roads and gravel drives, wanting the journey to begin, trying to keep the burning passion for the vision from singeing me. I was concerned someone else would do it before I could, and I was nervous God wouldn’t bring it about.
But He whispered to me, “The time hasn’t come yet. Keep dwelling with me. Keep the passion alive for the vision I’ve given you.”
Then one day, God brought my wandering to an end without me knowing it, so I wouldn’t have time to overthink it. He brought me to a beat-up house and ten acres. A spot we had dreamed of, searched for, and nearly missed as an answer to our prayers — because it was ugly.
Only God knows where the Promised Land is for each of us, and we can’t find it without His guidance. Wandering is usually built into the journey of getting there, and though I’m sure our sin gets in the way, the time it takes to get there is not a mistake. There are miracles along the path and a refining that happens, preparing us to take on the promise to come. Perhaps we wouldn’t be capable of possessing the promise without the much needed time with Him in the wilderness.
I knew that left to myself, the vision would’ve been skewed, and I would’ve only looked for beauty. My heart’s eye was trained by the world to do so, and I wanted that beauty now. I wanted to enter into the promise easily.
I viewed what wasn’t already perfect as more work for me. I was already tired and overwhelmed, and I wanted heaven on earth, a place to sit back and be comfortable. I didn’t really want the work involved once I arrived to take the promise.
But don’t be surprised when God gives you a vision, finally brings you to the edge of your Promised Land, and you wonder what happened in the days of the desert. You wonder if you missed something somewhere or if you took a wrong turn because the Promised Land doesn’t look like what you expected.
I arrived at the beat-up house and ten acres and thought, This couldn’t be the right place! It’s too ugly! This place just can’t be right. My God wouldn’t spend years getting my hopes up for ugly.
Maybe in your case, the adoption is harder than you expected. Maybe the new business takes more time and money than you planned for. Or maybe the relationship requires more sacrifice than you think you can muster.
The dream come true can look ugly at first glance. It may not be at all what you had imagined. It may be a place in desperate need of reclaiming for the Kingdom — a promised place but not a perfect place.
But why couldn’t the Promised Land look ugly? God loves to restore the junk that others have passed over and transform it into a masterpiece. God enjoys showing His power through transformation. The rejected-ugly can be a covering of protection for God to do His work under wraps. But the unveiling afterwards? It is other-worldly holy.
The LORD doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance,
but the LORD looks at the heart.
1 Samuel 16:7
Whether it’s the heart of a house, a person, or an opportunity, God sees it differently than we do. For our family, God was hiding a beautiful spot for us to live under tall weeds and a delapidated house. But He received all the glory in creating beauty from the place we now call home.
Have you passed by God’s promise for you because it didn’t look like what you thought it would? Maybe it’s not exactly ugly, but it could look overwhelming, difficult, too expensive, out of reach, or full of the giant lies of the enemy.
Let’s throw away our expectations and let the Lord give us His vision for how He sees the very spot we are to possess and make beautiful.
Renovate us, dear God, so we can see Your promises and the desires You have for our hearts. Help us to see the beauty of Your plans through the ugly of today. Give us the hope we so desperately need and the eternal vision we long for. Bring Your beautiful glory into this place.Leave a Comment
Michele Morin says
May God give us eyes to see beauty where He sees beauty.
I’m thinking right now about all the crazy choices and dead ends I could have avoided with this mind set.
Blessings to you, Stephanie!
There’s always still time to look for the beauty and the beauty that’s hidden.
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
Your post makes me think about the Holy Lands….Jerusalem, Mt. Zion, the banks of the Jordan, the desert. Really, to the uninformed onlooker, it’s really not a place you’d call “pretty”. There’s plenty of dust and dirt and very little green vegetation. I wouldn’t call it breathtaking. But, when you know that this is the place where the feet of our Savior trod, it takes on a whole new beauty. He walked these dusty roads. He performed miracles that healed people and He loved on the unlovable. Because we know what we know….the ugly becomes beautiful. I’ve learned to not judge a book by its cover and to not judge what God brings me to as my Promised Land. Things are often not as they seem. Lovely post.
How are you keeping Bev? Your health are you recooperating? X
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
You are SO sweet to ask! After 3 steroid injections in my back, it has finally settled down and is doing better. About 10 days free of excruciating pain….praise. All other parts cooperating at the moment lol. Thank you for your prayers!!
It really comes down to listening to the Lord and obeying. Our senses and first world experiences can skew our vision to see what God knows. I love that He’s always guiding us to our unique Promised Land with Him.
What a lovely post it speaks to the plan I believe if I have understood all this time correctly that God has for me. And I am scared at the thought of leaving my family my children for 5 weeks! Can I really do this? With God with us we can do anything but it still is scary as this process of waiting has come to an end and the dates draw closer to when I will be going to Cambodia for the internship. I know in my heart that God will bring his beauty, be it his glory to what is up ahead. Completely trusting in Him!
Cambodia?! My son & family are missionaries there!
Wow! Cambodia! My son and his family are missionaries there! Praying for you right now! When do you leave?
Wow that’s exciting! I am waiting for a funding application to be approved which should come in mid September and then I’m free to book. Looking at late Oct early Nov till beginning of December x
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
When will you be going?
So glad to hear you are not in as much pain! I answered approximate dates above xx
Wow! This is fantastic. Thank you. I wanted to keep reading.
Kristin Vanderlip says
This post is so timely for me as this is a discovery I’ve stumbled across in my own life. After helping edit and test drive the Bible study curriculum a mentor is writing and reading Christine Caine’s book Unexpected, I encountered passages in Scripture with new eyes. Seeing how God took the Israelites the LONG way (on purpose!) to arrive at their Promised Land and how once they arrived enemies were already encamped there that they would have to go to battle with! Your post is so spot on. That the journey, the land, might now always be what we think it should be, easy and beautiful, etc…. but He has a promised land for us. May we have eyes to see it. Thank you for sharing!
May we have eyes to see it. Amen. Love hearing about your journey!
Thanks so much for this post! Just what I needed today! I will have my husband read it, too. SMILES! 🙂
Ditto. We have just moved to a place we had hoped would be our promised land and it has been ugly; however, God continues to show His beauty even in the hard and difficult circumstances. May our eyes be open to see His handiwork, which is never wasted.
What an encouraging post! I so often think I must have missed God if it isn’t wonderful but you’ve opened my eyes to seeing the beauty in the broken and worn!
Macy Johnson says
Thank you Stephanie! You just confirmed what God did for us, too. After 2 years of searching, we just happened to drive past our dream home location that had a run down old cabin and shed. Our realtor told us it was not for sale. It was – God was saving it for us. It took us 3 years, going through several house plans and different builders for God to create our heaven on earth. God is now sending people to us so this place can be used for His glory. To God be all the Glory!!
I love when He protects His plan for us from the view of others until it’s time! I love you are continuing to dwell with Him in His promises and sharing your journey with others.
Connie Rowland says
Hi Stephanie! It is so true, only God knows where the Promised Land is for each of us. Praying we will follow Him down the path that leads there. This verse came to mind as I was reading. I hope it encourages someone here today. He has made everything beautiful in its time. Ecclesiastes 3:11 Blessings to all of you!
Ronny Santana says
Unfortunately people learn through pain. As in the devotional, God does not waste the pain. I struggled with the same exact fears of finally arriving in my what I thought was supposed to be my
“promised land”. I searched for several years trying to find a business I could create that would allow me to live anywhere in the world and either homeschool or allow for our children attend school outside the cancerous grips of the failed Common Core political agenda being taught in public schools In America now.
I created an online real estate brokerage in California and Tennessee. It was a very slow grow, and during the waiting process I also struggled with the same doubts; did I choose the wrong thing, did God really not give me this dream, why is it taking so long, etc.. Fast forward to today, my business finally did get established (it’s not huge, but it puts the food on the table now) and we were able to move overseas and now live in Tokyo and our children attend an amazing school and have learned how to speak Japanese.
I encourage Christ followers to keep on keeping on. Giving up is easy, no one ever built a statue of a quitter.
* * * * * * *
This spoke to my heart… as if you wrote it for me! We moved to some acreage with a dilapidated house. I get so discouraged at the long remodel process. But I know the remodel of my heart needs some attention! I want to trust God in each tiny step, but I often let my impatience rule. Praying that my focus will truly be on HIM instead of my physical surroundings!
Beth Williams says
This just proves you can’t judge things or people. People look at the outside-all glitz & glamour. God sees the heart of a person. We often miss opportunities God has for us because they look ugly or not what we expected. God can make beauty from ashes. He trod the dusty, rocky roads of Israel. He chose the smallest of nations to call His own. Your promised land may be hard work for little pay. You could be doing God’s work & showing His light. We miss God’s goodness while looking for greatness immediately. Keep on walking with God & asking for His Promised Land for you & when you arrive thank Him. He knows best for each of us.
Becky Keife says
“Let’s throw away our expectations and let the Lord give us His vision for how He sees…” Yes, friend! This. Such a good word of encouragement. Thank you, Stephanie. xx
Joanne Peterson says
Stephanie, your post today is speaking my heart being right in the throes of where we are. Your prayer especially resonates with me. Thank you! Blessings, Joanne
Katie Reid says
Such wisdom in this post. Thank you, Stephanie. I’ll be thinking about what you shared for awhile.
Becky Beresford says
Thank you so much, Stephanie, for sharing your heart! This was exactly what I needed to read and process today. Here’s to the transformation of our expectations as we walk into our Promised Lands… 🙂
God’s BEST to you,
Cassady Schulte says
Thank you for this, Stephanie! As many others have said, it reminded and encouraged me of the times when the Lord has showed me this very same concept in my own life. And we know how the Israelites felt about their Promised Land when God brought them to it and they realized it was full of giants! It’s so helpful to be reminded that God’s plan rarely ever looks the way that we expect it will, and it still good and perfect and pleasing.
Thank you for this reminder. I remembered when we first was looking for our house, we never imagined that we would live in the area that we are now. First of all, it was a bit pricey and way out of our league. We never even thought of buying anything in that price range but with every house that we had placed an offer for, houses that we thought were cheap and within budget, all of them always had some kind of snag to it and forcing us to not pursue them. Looking back, all of these previous houses were in locations that were not safe and I know now that God had a bigger plan for us. We found our house within a week of it posting and from the time the offer was placed to closing took only 6 weeks. It went so smoothly. We are so happy to be in our neighborhood. It was where we were meant to be. The school district was excellent and we were near our church, hubby’s work and everything else we loved. We truly did not think we can afford to live in the area but sure enough God knew we could and He made it happen. Thank you for sharing this to remind us that even though at times we can’t see the promised land, He will show us, we need to trust Him and obey.