‘Write the vision, make it plain’

by
October 8th, 2020

Often in our Christian walk, we catch a glimpse of a vision that gives us hope that we can impact others in some meaningful way. In the moment, we rarely have a clue how our vision will ever become reality. But the vision eventually does become our reality as we aim to accomplish it; it becomes a piece of our story.  So it has been for me in publishing my first book, Leaving Christian Science.

I managed to leave Christian Science in my mid-twenties and felt that at some point, God would use my testimony to help others out of the same generational bondage that so many have endured. I was a fourth-generation Christian Scientist on my mother’s side. It practically ran in my blood and I knew of no other religious options.

The Seed

I had never met or talked with a person who had left Christian Science until, at my mother’s urging, I brought our Christian Science hymnal to my piano lesson to ask my teacher for help with playing several hymns. My piano teacher had a visceral reaction to seeing the Christian Science Hymnal and emphatically shouted, “No!” I was startled and confused. Her response stuck with me, as I was 14 or so, and a seed of doubt was planted.

I now knew there were people who didn’t have the same rosy experience with Christian Science. Yet my mother routinely professed throughout my childhood, “Christian Science is the best gift anyone could ever give you,” in essence patting herself on the back for carrying on the long tradition.

When I began questioning this faith in my college years, then ended up working at a Christian company, I knew I had to uncover the truth and find out what Christian Science really was. This search for truth pushed me forward, first to the library, then to a Christian church, then to talk with former-CS friends, neighbors, and then encounters with random strangers who all started appearing in droves.

God gave me signs throughout my emergence out of this false gospel. I finally stopped and told him, “Lord, I get it—Christian Science is false!”

I majored in English literature, then started a career in public relations, publishing, and freelance writing. I knew at some point God might use my story, I just didn’t know how. I prayed on and off over the years wondering how to reach those still lost to Christian Science in my family.

The year I gave my life to Christ, the Christian radio was playing Paul Baloche’s hit, “Open the eyes of my heart.” It was everywhere—in churches I visited, and on KLOVE Christian radio when I drove to work. After coming to grips with my sin and surrendering my life to Jesus, I began to sing “Open the eyes of their hearts, Lord” for every relative still engrained in this perplexing, often debilitating set of false beliefs.

The Vision

In the Old Testament, the minor prophet, Habakkuk, speaks about repentance, of waiting on the Lord, and leaning into the mission God set out for him. He questioned the Lord, and shares the message he received:

“The Lord answered: ‘Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it’” (Habakkuk 2:2).

Many of the minor prophets had a difficult job: they were often asked by God to preach repentance to an unrepentant people group. It seemed like a no-win situation. Often, just like us today, God was calling them to righteousness, or the process of becoming righteous, through a series of steps.

Step 1: Obedience

Repeatedly throughout the Old Testament, we see God call people to obedience. I’m reminded of Jonah who wasn’t initially obedient, and therefore was swallowed by a great fish as a form of discipline. I prefer to follow directions the first time, and so when I began to pray about four years ago, “Lord, what book would you have me write first?”—I waited.

I waited sometimes patiently, and sometimes I wondered when the vision would come and how I would achieve it. I didn’t know, and I felt like I was in the dark, yet I trusted God that he would not only provide the vision, but he would make it possible for me to achieve it—for his glory.

About 18 months into my frequent prayers for direction, I attended a writers conference. I spent hours putting together a book on a completely different topic. Then I let it sit. I prayed again and felt no movement. At this same time, however, I was becoming more active in the Fellowship of Former Christian Scientists ministry led by Katherine Beim-Esche. It was such a new and wonderful experience to be in the presence of other former Christian Scientists who now knew the Lord!

I was amazed and transfixed by each of their stories and longed to hear more. They testified to the incredible goodness of God, that while we were in our sinful state, he chose to save us; in our weakness, he was strong.

I continued praying, and sometime after this writers conference, I heard God, or rather felt God, plop this book idea into my head. I felt him say, “Lauren, you could assemble a book of testimonies together that show and tell the way out of Christian Science. Would you do this for me?”

I’m not sure how you react when you hear a clear word from God direct in your heart, mind, and soul, but it doesn’t happen that often to me. I said, “YES!” From this point, I began putting the ideas into a format, working with a developmental coach on the book’s plan, then I got to work recording stories and working them into chapters thematically.

From the vision to the finished product was about three years. Considering how long some people wait to hear from God, I consider this fast. I am incredibly grateful for how well the book, Leaving Christian Science: 10 Stories of New Faith in Jesus Christ, came together and how I felt the Lord’s presence with me during each step.

Before we can act on behalf of God to do his will, we must be obedient. Habakkuk was obedient as he humbly gave his time and attention to God, then he spoke to the people when he felt it was time.

Step 2: Faith

I’m always comforted by the scripture passage that says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God” Ephesians 2:8 ESV. It always seemed a relief to me that my faith was a gift and not something I had to earn or work at as I did in Christian Science.

We are called to put our faith in an unseen God. While his disciples and followers saw Jesus during his earthly ministry, we do not see him now; we rely on his testimony in the Gospels.

In the same way, part of the vision God gave me is in the power of personal story: often it is when we hear, read, and see those who have a personal testimony of the power of God that others come to faith in Christ. As God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are a triune family, so are we a family of believers who share, connect, feel, mourn, grow, and struggle with one another.

The power of story is the power of the Cross—you only know its power through hearing the story of what Jesus endured on our behalf. Without story, we have no Gospel account. It is through faith we honor God; it is through faith we give our control up to God; it is through faith we trust a Creator we cannot see—save for the power of his work in the lives of his creation.

Step 3: Action

God does not call us to sit still. We serve a God of action; an adventuresome God of risk and difficult circumstances. No prophet or follower of Jesus had an easy time of things; we approach this Christian life knowing difficulties and obstacles lie ahead.

Thus Habakkuk knew his work didn’t end with shouting God’s message from the towers; he was called to write down God’s messages on tablets plainly for others to see, read, and follow.

As so it was for me with Leaving Christian Science. It required immense obedience, faith, and action to trust God in his purposes. I trusted him through book proposal rejections; I trusted him through taking a leap of faith to self-publish. I took a leap of faith to “come out of the Christian Science closet” to many friends and family far away who didn’t know my story.

Whether or not you are tasked with a difficult assignment—each of us is called to tell our story when asked. Did you follow and trust God from the time you were little? Tell your story. Did you make huge sinful mistakes that got you into trouble before you surrendered your life to Jesus? Tell your story. Did you hide the fact that you no longer attended Christian Science services from your family? Now is the time to tell your story.

Habakkuk encouraged me to tell my story. He speaks to us as a messenger from God and says: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it” (Habakkuk 2:2).

Once the story has been written (in my case and the nine others who share their stories in Leaving Christian Science: 10 Stories of New Faith in Jesus Christ), my prayer is that all who read will begin their walk…or run…in new faith.

This faith isn’t dependent on the incorrect teachings of a misguided woman named Mary Baker Eddy, it is based solely on the Bible, the holy and infallible word of God.

I encourage you now to tell your story. For it is in the power of story that others can and will see God working in you. He has authored your very own story for a good reason—to send others his way. So take up this great invitation from Hebrews:

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (12:2, Berean Study Bible).

Lauren Hunter is a writer who loves the big picture of God’s journey we are all on together. Raised in a fourth-generation family of Christian Scientists, she left her family’s faith behind at the age of 25 to become an evangelical Christian. She is married to her high-school sweetheart, and they live in Northern California with their four children. She is also the founder of churchtechtoday.com, a leading website for pastors and church leaders. Lauren can be found online at https://laurenhunter.net.

Ananias.org urges you to order your copy of Leaving Christian Science today.

 

 

The author can be reached at lauren@laurenhunter.net

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