“Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
19 See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland."
A new beginning or the start of something means something old is now gone and what was is now a memory. This is not a news flash, nor an earthshattering statement, but if we’re not careful we forget that the past is the past. Each day is an opportunity for you to choose to move on and let go of what was or to cling to it wasting mental energy that could have been used to build your future. For instance, I remember leaving my workplace of 11 years and starting the new adventure of planting a church. What this meant for me was that I would have to establish a new work culture, church identity, brand, hire personnel (started just me on staff), and find a workspace, which started in my home. During this time I remember thinking that this adventure was awesome, but then also having moments where I would look back and think, “This journey is much harder in what God has called me to do now then what I was doing before. Why did I choose this?” Now, to be fair… I wouldn’t have turned around, but the thoughts of what was tried repeatedly to steal my joy, calling, peace, and posture in what I was daily trying to accomplish.
During these moments of wrestling I found much inspiration and hope in Isaiah 43. God is telling the Israelites, and dare I extend this same idea to all of us, that he is going to do a new thing. In this they can dwell on the past or choose to grab hold of the new thing that he is doing! The irony in choosing where you focus your energy is that change is inevitable and even if you cling to the past the future is still dawning. Therefore, nothing stays the same, the world keeps spinning, and either you atrophy or grow stronger.
My point to you today is this: Like the people of Israel, you can complain about where God has taken you, throw your fists to the sky and look at what might have been or maybe it’s time to ask God, “Show me the new thing that you’re doing” and choose to embrace where you are today in all its fullness. With the Biblical character Joseph, God used his slavery to lead him to a great purpose. With Moses, he directed his path at a burning bush from being in obscurity to the leader of a nation. With Joshua, the walls fell through with God’s power when they were impenetrable. Lastly, God raised Jesus from the dead, when death itself took hold.
So today, you have a choice: Trust in the God who holds your past, present or future and lean into the new thing he wants to do through you or look back, live with regret and miss the greater opportunities that lie ahead. My prayer today is that you would live fully present, ready for all that God has called you to accomplish for today. You can’t change your past, but you can change your future through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Prayer Focus: Ask God to help you let go of the past and embrace the new things in your future.