I am longing for Spring today. I need to see something grow. New green tender shoots of something — anything. I’d take a dandelion today. I want fresh new growth in my soul. Cool spring water bubbling up in my spirit, bathing my heart in refreshment.
God gets it. Isaiah 43:19 says “See, I am doing a new thing! I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”
Yes! That’s what I want. I want a way through the wilderness and a stream in the wasteland. That’s what we all want, isn’t it?
Here’s the thing. For God to prepare a way in the wilderness, I must actually be in the wilderness. Wait a minute — I don’t like that part. Been there, done that. Don’t want to do that again. Maybe I can do without God making a way for me. But a stream in the wasteland? That sounds amazing! AND….. that means I must be in the wasteland for long enough to be desperate for that stream. Still want that new way, that refreshing stream?
What’s the alternative? I suppose I could choose not to grow. Not to learn. Not to change. The result is atrophy of my soul. My joy disappears. Enthusiasm wanes. I no longer care about myself or those around me. I lose any reason to live. Been there. Very nearly gave into that despair. Don’t want to be there ever again.
I want to see the way in my wilderness. I want to discover the stream in my wasteland. I’m willing to step into those places to see God’s provision and God’s glory. I am a Christ follower. I love Jesus. I do my best to follow God’s will for my life. How bad could it get?
Oh, my friend. That’s a good question. I don’t have the answer for you, but I can tell you about me. I was lost in the wilderness of broken relationships and broken identity and a broken heart. I begged God to make a way for me. Please God, do whatever it takes.
God answered. “I have begun a good work in you. I WILL complete it. With or without you, I will create beauty out of the ashes of your life. I will do miracles. I will restore what the enemy has stolen. Do you want in?”
Duh! Of course I want in.
“It will cost you. If you choose to follow me you must give up everything.”
This is the BIG E Everything. I thought I had already given him everything. The truth was I had just gotten started. I hadn’t given him my expectations. I hadn’t given him my will. I hadn’t given him my children — not all the way. I hadn’t given him my marriage. I hadn’t given up the judgement and criticism I held against those who lived and believed differently than me. I hadn’t given up my reputation. Ouch. That one hurt.
OK God. I’m in. Whatever it takes, I’m in for everything you want for me, and however you want to accomplish it. You know better than I do what I need and how best to show your glory in my life. I give it all up. I give up Everything. Do whatever it takes.
Here’s what it took:
It took suffering. Physical, mental, emotional, relational suffering. My marriage was decimated. My reputation was in tatters. My baby’s adoption was jeopardized. I was in the ER every three to four weeks for persistent vomiting and dehydration. My very soul was stripped down until I was literally on my face on the floor before God.
It was a terrible time in my life. I was lost in a wilderness with no way out. I was dying in a wasteland devoid of hope. I finally gave it all up. The big E Everything. God got my attention. I began to see the new thing He was doing. He soothed my broken heart and healed my suffering. He systematically gave back everything I had given up and more. I finally understood that nothing was truly mine. Everything was His. It had always been His.
Here’s what I wasn’t prepared for:
This takes a long time. Like, a loooonngg time. I would even say it takes a lifetime. And it is worth every step. Every tear. Every crack in my heart. Every dark night spent crying out to God.
Because God gave me a front row centre seat to His glory. He restored relationships that I thought were beyond repair. He healed my heart that I thought had been ground to dust. He put all my pieces together better than new. He does this for me again and again.
Picture a clay urn. Perfect, smooth, flawless. Put a candle in it. Can you see the light? No?
I was that clay urn. I was broken. Smashed into a million little pieces. God put me back together. He left cracks. He even left a few holes. He put His light inside. Can you see the light? Put it a dark corner and the light shines through the cracks with even more strength and beauty. And that is worth everything. Big E Everything.
How about you? Are you hanging on to your stuff even as you cry out to God for something new? Are you on your face as I was, in the wilderness, in the wasteland, waiting for God? Awesome. God is offering you a front row centre seat to see His glory. Right next to me. Drop the stuff — it doesn’t belong to you anyway. Come sit with me. Let’s watch God go together. It is sure to be an amazing experience.
Look!! He is doing a New Thing!! Do you see it??