God created us to appreciate variety. For instance, He gifted us with the potential to enjoy over 10,000,000 colors he placed on the earth. They vary even moment by moment as we look see sunlight streaming through the sky. Each wave of the ocean rolls to shore in unique shapes, colors, and textures. He’s created us to also need consistency, even within change. We can count on four seasons, the evolution of day and night time, even the tides that ebb and flow house the beauty of both of those needs. It’s those things that don’t change that mirror God’s reliability to our souls. God never changes as he leads us through life’s changing hills and valleys. He fills the need in us for variety while being that constant that we need when the world is going crazy.
“For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.”Malachi 3:6
Although God doesn’t change, he does new things for us all the time. Sometimes we can appreciate or crave it so much we get stuck in a rut. I think that’s why my coffee tastes so good in the quiet morning hours. It represents the comfort of my predictable routine. The familiar things can become a cocoon, encapsulating and insulating us from the chaos of the world. There are times we need to be in that cocoon in some areas. However, we aren’t designed to spend our lives in a cocoon. We don’t have to be afraid of new things when we have His presence in our lives. In some ways, God is the ultimate creative. Like the ocean waves or the seasonal sky, he loves doing new things, but he’s also our mighty rock on which we can rely. Maybe it’s time to open our cocoon and see what new something God wants to do in our lives.
Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?Isaiah 43:19
Blocking the Blessing
There’s one thing that can block the gift of a new thing God wants to do in our lives, it’s us. Our hands, hearts, eyes, and minds can be too overloaded to receive. The worst culprit is holding onto the past. We regurgitate the past and stroke our wounds, wrapping ourselves up in the trauma like a cocoon. God meant for us to be wrapped in his comfort, not our trauma, and set us on a varied path. Consider that God was taking Lot’s family to a new and healthier place, but Lot’s wife looked back and turned to salt. We can hold so tightly to the past, the way it’s always been, the way it makes sense that we can’t see, perceive or be open to His gift of something new. You don’t know what’s in front of you when you’re looking back. Maybe God wants to work a miracle, but how do we receive it if we are wrapped up in the past?
“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old.”Isaiah 43:18
Although it’s been impossible for thousands of people doesn’t mean it has to be impossible for us. I took care of my mom when she got Covid. She had asthma for years; she was in her 80’s, I was scared. I’d go into her room as she slept and prayed not only that she would live but against all hope that she would come out of Covid better than she went in. It seemed like a ludicrous prayer, but at her age and health, so was survival. I was desperate enough to stretch and reach to Him and ask. Not only did she recover, but after having Covid, she no longer has asthma. He led us through our covid bout, but we also lost my dad. There was a lot of pain, but mama came out of it without having asthma. Family, friends, and neighbors were blessings by providing meals and meds during our dark journey. They were our streams in the desert.
“I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”Isaiah 43:19
I could look back on those tough weeks and focus on the painful fact that my dad died alone in a hospital. I could cocoon myself with those excruciating visions of him in that bed, wracking my brain over what I could have or should have done or not done. It wouldn’t change a thing about what happened. We can find comfort in the predictability of reliving our traumas, but that’s not how we are meant to live. Or I could give that to my Jesus and look at the ways God showed up for mom and me at that time. I can be thankful for the fact that God is doing new things within the tragedy. I am grateful that my father accepted the sacrifice Jesus made for his sins, so he made it to heaven. We will have a reunion one day. Both mom and I focus on the positives, and we are doing well. While we go through the process of grief, we also have the tender, consistent comfort of God. We are free to move ahead open to God to do something new.
“…I give water in the wilderness, rivers in the desert, to give drink to my chosen people, 21 the people whom I formed for myself that they might declare my praise. Isaiah 43:21-22