Ready for New

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. 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

Sunday afternoon, I attended an annual Christmas party with an incredible group of moms who, due to the pulls of life and the vastness of Los Angeles, rarely see each other these days. After hours of eating and chatting, we gathered next to the tree and each shared the best and worst of 2017 and our hopes and prayer requests for the coming year. It was astounding to hear of the miraculous answered prayers from the year before, but also the heartfelt needs that continue to occur.

As we draw close to a new year, Isaiah 43 has been ringing in my ears and encouraging my heart. I want to move into 2018 with an unbridled expectation for what only God can do. Not only do I want to move past the trials of the year, but forget them and not dwell on them. What if the future that the Lord has planned is so great, that even the wonderful things that He has done in the past will not compare? In this passage, that is the message to the Israelites- their miraculous deliverance from Egypt  and into the Promised Land would pale in comparison to the redemption that was to come through the birth, death, and resurrection of Christ. God was ready to do a new thing- not a better version of what had already been done, but NEW-as in never been done before! It would far surpass expectations.

That same God wants to do something unexpected in our lives. “Now it springs up,” is even a phrase that means quickly and surprisingly. His answers and blessings can come at any moment. I don’t want to miss them or not be ready for them. I also want to remain steadfast in the waiting with a heart that is fearless.

When life is challenging or mundane, faith is the gateway to hope. In the seasons of having to be patient and wait on the Lord, often the lies that we tend to hear tell us that things won’t change,  (people, circumstances, relationships, us…). But the new thing is not just change; it is not just different- in this verse it refers to the IMPOSSIBLE. We serve the God of the extraordinary who makes ways in the wilderness and streams in the desert.

The wilderness has no path that can be seen which is often how life feels. Personally, I like a clear path. Actually, more than that- I like to see and know exactly what I am walking toward. But that doesn’t require faith… Faith is what we have in the dark and snarled forest where we take a step and pray we don’t fall or get lost. Even in the desert places, the river of life that is the Lord Himself, is there to sustain us.

Tonight in my Bible, I wrote down the things I want to forget and the impossible for which I want to believe. I can’t wait for the coming year. Perhaps it will be the best one yet; but even if it is not we know that “hope does not disappoint because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts and through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans 5:5

 The Year of the Lord’s Favor

Isaiah 61: 3

I will bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.

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