The “POOF” of Vision

I can still remember my first vision test.

I was about 40 and I was starting to have problems reading the fine print.

The vision test was rather easy until they got to the part where you put your chin in the holder, ‘keep your eyes as wide open as you can’ and they push a POOF of air against your eye-ball. After that first time, I have had a hard time keeping my eyes open when they come to that part of the test.

It didn’t hurt. It was just an uncomfortable surprise and my eyes have never forgotten. Today, I have to just sit there, knowing it is coming, and let it happen. I still don’t like it, but, I want to finish the test!

So, when I think about the word ‘vision’ used in leadership, and I think about the times God has given me an idea and I tried to act on it, I realize that the two experiences are very similar.

Over the years, I have come to realize that there are ‘poofs’ that push against me as I try to act on the ‘vision’ God has given to me and it always seems to surprise me because they come at unexpected times from unexpected sources.

I now anticipate them, and actually wait for them so I can get them out-of-the-way. Maybe you have had that same experience.

There is the ‘poof’ of, “That will never work!”. Sometimes the phrase is preceded by a sound that even sounds like a poof of air.

There are times when I want to agree because the idea looks impossible and then I realize that, since it came from God, He must know how to make it work…and, He always does. All I have to do is follow. The truth is, I will never know if it is impossible or not until I try.

That is my same response to the ‘poof’ when I am told “we can’t do that!” as they question our skills and commitment. Usually that comment comes from someone who is opposed to change or is protecting their area of responsibility, or just doesn’t want to do anything new and different.

How will we know if we don’t try? Let’s see what God has in mind. We need to do our best and let God do the rest.

There is the ‘poof’ of “We tried that and it didn’t work!”. But, was it us, this team including me, who tried it? Was it during a time like this? Did we do it this way? No!

Doing something again, in a different way, with different people is always worth the effort.

Then, there is the inner ‘poof’ that says, “Who do you think you are?” That poof reminds me that I have failed or that there are better, more qualified people.

But, God gave me the idea. He trusted me with it. That’s who I am. I am the guy God gave an idea to. Maybe I can get others to help. But, I need to do something with it, not just ignore it.

One more ‘poof’ that comes is “We don’t have time, or money, or the right people, for that!”.

Maybe the idea came so we would have to reevaluate how we are using our time, our money and our people. Maybe we need to challenge our priorities and our goals. Re-examining these things is always a good idea…and good ideas are from God.

There will be other ‘poofs’, they are always there. They are a part of the ‘vision’ test. Expect them, brace yourself, but keep your eyes wide open so you can see what God is going to do through your obedience.


Dr. Ron Cline helps build the body of Christ around the world. His background as a pastor, educator, counselor, missionary and author gives him credibility and rapport with the many groups and individuals he and his wife, Barbara, minister to in various countries each year. After 7 years of pastoral ministry in Southern California, and ten years as the Dean at Azusa Pacific University, the Clines’ international service began in 1976 as a short-term opportunity when he agreed to pastor the English Fellowship Church in Quito, Ecuador for two years. Those two years stretched into six years. Following that he served as the president of HCJB World Radio, also in Ecuador, for 20 years. HCJB Global, now Reach Beyond, has media, health care, community and/or leadership development ministries in Latin America, Europe, Russia, North Africa/Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Asia Pacific. Ron and Barb currently serve as Global Ambassadors with Reach Beyond and live in Southern California after living 30 years abroad. They travel from Southern California throughout the world. For the last ten years they have been encouraging, coaching and working with leaders in Indonesia, Cambodia, China, Singapore, Malaysia, Nepal, Mongolia, India, Philippines, Thailand, Hong Kong, Solomon Islands, Western Samoa, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Fiji, America Samoa, Australia, New Zealand, Central Asia, USA, Canada, Mexico, Cuba, Haiti, Ecuador, Russia, Malawi, Ivory Coast and South Africa.

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