“I am doing a new thing.”
These words pulsate with hope of resurrection and new life much like Spring, the season we are receiving now. Look around you and see the vibrant beauty of creation coming back to life. Barren trees now covered with all shades of green, colorless landscapes now bursting with bright yellows, pinks, and purples. What seemed dead, dry, lifeless is now so clearly alive.
The other morning I sauntered into my backyard during Isaac’s nap and my heart was moved to worship as I breathed in God’s presence in that quiet moment. The weather was glorious. The breeze gently caressed my face, blowing gingerly through my hair. The birds were singing happy songs. They sounded playful, gleeful even, and in their songs I heard the Spirit’s invitation to joy. The fuchsia hibiscus had just opened to the sun and greeted me with her loveliness. I sensed God’s love, His goodness flowing to me as my heart was awakened to beauty. I opened up my hands and received it all, His joy, His beauty, His love, right there in the midst of the mundane and my soul whispered back gratitude.
I invite you to open your eyes to wonder…there is no better season to notice the beauty of God!
Earth’s crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God,
But only he who sees takes off his shoes…
-Elizabeth Barrett Browning
It is in this season that a passage from Isaiah is coming alive to me in a fresh way. Isn't it incredible how the Holy Spirit continues to unveil layers of a text that we've read countless times?!
18“Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
19 See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland. (Isaiah 43:18-19, NIV)
Can you picture this? What a powerful image. Using imagination in our prayerful reading of Scripture can reveal new insights! It's one of my favorite practices.
It seems to me that many of us want the new thing without being willing to let go of the old things, the other things. We often ruminate on how things were (nostalgia) or how we wish things could be (fantasy).
It reminds me of my little Isaac, a hot wheel in each hand, as he tries to figure out how to pick up a block too. It’s not possible. There is no way. The only alternative is to drop the car, and make room for the block.
This is like me. I want the new thing, but a part of me keeps holding on to the past, to seasons gone by, to another time, another place, to what almost feels like another me, to the ideal in my mind.
What is so interesting about this passage is that God had just invited His people to remember what He had done for them, delivering them from captivity, setting them free, parting the waters for them…then He says, “Forget it! I am doing a new thing.”
I heard a preacher explain it by pointing out that God wants us to remember His character, in this case, He is Deliverer, but He doesn’t want us to expect He will move in the same way. His character is the same, but His ways, His movement, His invitation is mysterious and surprising, more than we could ask or imagine…
And as always, He wants us to know we are precious and honored in His sight. (see Isaiah 43:4). Have you let that truth captivate your heart? Read that again…I am precious and honored in His sight. Living in that awareness can change everything and can give us the strength and faith to let go of what we are holding so tightly to, in order to open our hands to receive the new thing God has.
Let Him dream up the new thing. Let Him write your story. Listen to His voice. Follow His lead.
“Forget about what’s happened;
don’t keep going over old history.
Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new.
It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it?
There it is! I’m making a road through the desert,
rivers in the badlands. (The Message)
I invite you to notice the new life bursting out around you, and every time you notice something springing up, I encourage you to whisper “yes” to the Spirit’s desire to do something new, in His time, in His way in and through YOU! Let the loveliness around you awaken you to His presence, to His movement, to His invitation…
Resurrection is in the air…