For we know in part and we prophesy in part, (1 Corinthians 13:9)

Part of the reason that we prophesy in part is that we know in part. We don’t know everything. We only know one piece of the puzzle. However, usually that doesn’t stop us from pontificating on what we know as if we know the whole thing.

Let me give you an example. I remember having a dream years ago that A and B were supposed to happen. A happened within a short period of time. Because A had happened, I thought B would happen soon too. I got frustrated because B wasn’t happening and I had seen both happen in the dream. What I did not know is that A and B would take place about 1 year apart. That was one year of frustration. If only God had made that clear in the dream, I would have saved myself a year of frustration! I wasn’t wrong; I was just off with the timing.

How much better we would do if we held things a little more loosely. Sometimes we interpret something literally when we should be interpreting it figuratively. Just because God gives you one piece of the puzzle does not mean you have the whole picture.

“Oh, but it was so vivid,” you say. “It was so clear that there was no denying that it was God.” Fair enough! The vividness with which you receive something does not determine that you know exactly how something is going to unfold. The most dramatic prophetic words have a way of playing themselves out differently than we anticipate in many situations. Yes, something may unfold exactly the way we have seen it, but that seems to be the exception rather than the norm.

I am learning more and more that no matter how intensely I feel, hear, or see something is not an indicator of the total picture. Nor is it an indicator of its accuracy. Sometimes God leads us somewhere we don’t want to go. “Oh, I heard it like He was standing right next me!” “Oh, I remember the vision or dream so vividly as if it happened yesterday!” “Oh, it was so intense that I knew it was God.”

These are things we may say to underscore the intensity with which we received the revelation. However, intensity does not equal accuracy. The Holy Spirit led Jesus into the desert where he was tempted for forty days by the devil. (Luke 4:1-2) “Well, I don’t want to be in the wilderness,” you might say. No, I don’t either. It’s not a fun place to be, figuratively speaking. Sometimes He leads us there. The pastures aren’t always green and pleasant where He leads us.

What does all this have to do with the prophetic? It doesn’t always turn out the way we imagine. Yes, we may have heard the Lord and we stay the course, until it is time to change direction. May you know where and how your part fits into the whole.

By Ralph Veenstra