18 Don’t remember the prior things;
don’t ponder ancient history.
19 Look! I’m doing a new thing;
now it sprouts up; don’t you recognize it?
I’m making a way in the desert,
paths in the wilderness.
If the last few years have taught all of us anything, it’s that holding onto the past keeps us from changing in ways that will assure our future. During multiple crises, it’s normal to think that clinging to the familiar and preserving the status quo will get us through; but instead it only results in leaving us stranded. Without changing the “way we always do things” and allowing transformation to occur, we and our institutions will die.
Being human we resist change at all costs. We stay too long in situations that are bad for us, because we think an uncertain future could actually be worse than our unsustainable present. The unknown scares us. We get stuck in the past and carry it around with us because we’ve filtered out the bad things and then we get nostalgic about what was good. Worse, we begin to believe that the past was better than the future can be; this robs us of hope. Remembering the good old days may bring us comfort, but it’s not a playbook for the future.
The scripture from Isaiah is as vital today as it was thousands of years ago. Living in captivity and exile, their homes and country in ruins, Israel needed to hear Isaiah’s prophetic words. God commanded Israel, that while they remembered their past deliverance by God out of Egypt, they were not to dwell on the past. God promises to do a new thing, and if the people are always looking backward, they will miss what God is doing right now among them. God asked Israel, “don’t you recognize it?” God asks us the same question today. Do we see what God is doing in our lives, in our church, in the world? Are we looking for the new thing God is doing, or are we dwelling in the past?
by Jeneene Reduker
For Pondering & Prayer
Our God seeks to transform all of creation through God’s grace and redeeming love. That is why God did a new thing, and sent Jesus to us. In the midst of a constantly changing world, God never changes. God is loving, God is faithful and always by our side. We don’t need to fear change, because God goes before us, making a way in the unfamiliar desert, carving out a path for us to walk, in a wilderness of change.
What new thing is God calling you to do? Are you willing to let go of the past, and move forward on the path that God has set out for you?
Prayer: Holy and Loving God, we are afraid of change, we don’t want to let go of the past. Help us to see the new thing you are doing among us. We know that you are faithful and love us, and no matter what the future holds, you will walk the path with us. Amen.