This is what the Lord says:
“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 desert and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:18-19
I am guilty, as I’m sure you are, of remembering the former things instead of forgetting them, of dwelling on the past instead of moving forward, of not perceiving what God is doing in my life because I’m stuck on what’s already been done.
We rehearse the ways we failed and the ways we were failed by others.
Combing through our childhoods, looking for explanations – excuses – as to why we are what we wish we weren’t.
Combing through our careers, looking for choices we made that led us to the jobs we wish we didn’t have.
Combing through our marriages, looking for moments that brought us to the places we wish we weren’t.
Combing through our broken relationships, looking for reasons we aren’t as close as we wish we were.
Other times we run to the former things because we’re certain they were better than where we are now.
We replay those handful of good memories made perfect by the passage of time, wishing we could rewind to relive those days we’re certain were our best.
All of this dwelling on the past, whether we’re loathing it or glorifying it? It’s no good.
Because when we look back – with our eyes and with our hearts – we can’t see what’s happening now. We can’t perceive the new thing – the good thing – the Lord is doing right under our noses when they’re pointed toward the past.
The Lord – He’s always doing a new thing for us – in us. He’s always making a way in the desert, streams in the wasteland.
He is continually renewing and redeeming all that we thought was barren and parched (2 Corinthians 4:16).
Do we perceive it?
Are we paying attention to the now?
The new things God is doing in each of our lives – they spring up like jack-in-the-boxes. And like children surprised that something so delightful comes out of something so plain, God wants us to laugh in astonishment as He raises new things from our nothings.
Don’t miss it.
Spread your smile wide and your eyes even wider and delight yourself in the Lord (Psalm 37:4).
He is doing a new thing. For me. For you.