“Do not remember the former things or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”
In the midst of change – God remains… These were words I heard offered in worship a number of years ago, and rarely a day goes by that I don’t offer them up, again, claiming them as my own affirmation. Yet, I imagine many of us find ourselves overwhelmed – at times – these days. This world we live in can sometimes move at a pace we don’t prefer. Life can pose us with situations we never expected to face ( ie. worship that we can only participate in via a computer screen, or waiting to hear results from a medical test, a child leaving home with no real plan, a parent whose health is diminishing, and a host of other situations you might add to these offerings.)
To a people overwhelmed, dis-oriented, dis-connected, and far from anything that looked familiar, God offers a word through the prophet: “I am about to do a new thing.” One biblical commentary gives me new understanding and a new set of lens through which to gaze at God’s preferred future…
“The call for Israel not to remember the former things is a call to Israel not to dwell on the past as past, i.e. not to think of it as a past act or possibly not to lament over it as a past that is no longer present. The new thing that (God) does is in fact the old thing – in a new time and place.”
In the midst of change – God remains. I am grateful for the example of God’s people living in a time of unknowing. I am encouraged by the prophet’s word that wakes me to the reality of God’s unchanging nature. As Reggie McNeal is fond of noting, God is very good at, “showing up and showing off.” I imagine you are seeing many examples of this in the here-and-now.
Rather than wasting our time reminiscing about the past, God reminds us that he is “I am” NOT “I was.” God cannot, and will not be relegated to “the good old days.” God is active in the here-and-now, doing a new thing, making a new way, but always doing the new thing and making the new way out of a love that is older than all time. I can rest in the hope of that.
Still In ONE Peace,
Jon (the Methodist)