Here we are again… at the turning point of a new year. We find ourselves looking both ways… back over the past year, and ahead to the future before us. The prophet Isaiah draws our attention and calls us to action, at this significant moment.
“Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? There it is! I’m making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands.”
Isaiah 43: 18 -19 The Message
When the people of Israel heard these words, I can’t begin to imagine how they felt. Disbelief, hope or simply relief!? They had been defeated, uprooted and taken captive as slaves to Babylon. They were emotionally, spiritually and physically depleted. The challenges faced, the opposition encountered had eroded any sense of purpose or destiny they could have wished for. They were overwhelmed… by overwhelming circumstances. Sound familiar?
As you step into this year…
Remember your past
As you reflect on the past year, learn and grow from the experiences/lessons of the past and move on. Don’t keep on replaying/revisiting the scenarios, with ‘shoulda-woulda-coulda’ scripts! Some of us can be chronic ‘over-stayers’ and have a tendency to ‘dwell’ in the past. We pitch up a tent, get out the sleeping bags, and bunker down for the long haul!
- Write a list of your ‘breakthrough’ moments of the past year! And have a ‘rah rah!’ moment and say, ‘thank you Jesus and well done me’!
- Identify areas where you want to grow up or move on from.
- Take an extended time to express thanksgiving for the breakthroughs, and for God’s continued faithfulness and blessing.
Recognise the new
Look out for the ‘new thing’ in whatever form it takes. It may be unfamiliar, it may even look threatening, uncertain and like ‘exile’, uncomfortable, different and unlike anything you’ve ever experienced before. However, remind yourself, this is NOT exile. Be open. See the new, as a friend not an enemy, a learning process and an opportunity to assist and/or advocate for others.
- What will you tell yourself, when faced with the new? What will be different?
- What will you practically commit yourself to doing, when faced with the new?
Seize the Day!
Seize the day! Life will happen… whether we like it or not, want it or not, invite it or not! So commit yourself to participate, don’t just spectate or speculate! God’s promise to the people of Israel was that the ‘new thing’ had begun. He was already making a way through the impossible landscape of wilderness and desert, and new life was taking shape and breaking through in the most hostile conditions imaginable.
In the words of Henri Nouwen:
The world is waiting… for new saints, ecstatic men and women who are so deeply rooted in the love of God that they are free to imagine a new international order.
We need a new order now, more than ever before and as part of God’s gift to this earth, you too can seize the day!