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.