By Melinda Lancaster
“Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:18-19
I recently read a story about the hippopotamus. A zoologist observed that these animals will not leave the lake that they have become familiar with. Even if it dries up they will often stand there until they die because their minds cannot move beyond the past memories of a lake once filled with water. As one Christian blogger put it “they died where they stood, not wanting to go forward, because they wanted to live in the past, where it had always been comfortable for them.”
It is hard to imagine a hippo literally stuck in the mud of a drying pool of water. Even harder to picture is such a large animal dying where it stands because it lacks the ability to see past what it had and go find what it needs to live-water. Yet there is a lesson we can learn from the hippo. We cannot live in the past and embrace the future. Actually, we need to bury our past or it will bury us.
Perhaps we have heard it before but have not really taken it to heart. It is very difficult to see the new things God is doing, even if they are right in front of us, if we are always looking in the rearview mirror. It is impossible to drive safely on the road without looking through the windshield. Our attention needs to be on what is in front of us, not what is behind us. Often times we say we want God to do something new but we must realize that for Him to do so we must be willing to accept it. It is hard to accept more into hands already full. So as believers we need to be prepared to lay down the past, including the good, the bad, and the ugly, to embrace His plan for us.
The good news is that God’s desire is to do something new in our lives. He is a Creator and as such loves to create. He has promised in His Word to do “a new thing” and along with that has also promised that we will recognize what He is doing. The question is will we heed His word? Will we listen, pay attention, and respond? Responding properly means doing things that you’ve never before done or going where you have never gone before. It meant that for the children of Israel and it will be the same for us.
If we will then He has promised two things:
- He will make a road or way in the wilderness. He will go with us in the wilderness (the uncultivated and uninhabited regions). In other words in places no one has ever been He will make a road-a way of guidance.
- He will make rivers in the desert. In those dry barren wastelands, places unsuitable for habitation, where no one can survive). God is going to make rivers-He will be our refreshment.
When we are wandering into places He has never taken us before, in response to the new things He is doing, He has promised to be the “Way Maker.” When we become dry and thirsty spiritually, emotionally, and physically, He will provide refreshment. Isaiah 43 does not say we won’t go through the wilderness but, just as He brought the children of Israel to the Promised Land through, He will also bring us through. He will provide all that is necessary to sustain us on the journey. But we have to be willing to travel with Him.
I just stopped by to tell you that God, the One who makes all things new, wants to make things new in your life today. Perhaps you have not heard that He sent His only Son Jesus to die for your sins. You owed a debt, but He paid the price. All you have to do is believe in your heart and confess Jesus as Lord with your mouth and your sins are washed away. You become that NEW creation spoken of in II Corinthians 5:17. The old passes away and all things become new. That’s why we call it being born again. The slate is wiped clean, all things are new. You have a new life, a new start. God wants to make all of us new creations.
Perhaps you are already a new creation but long for God to do something NEW in your life. You are not satisfied with where you are at in God; you need a fresh touch, a road in your current wilderness, a river in your desert. Well, He has promised, that if you’ll stop looking back and dwelling on the past that He will do a new thing. You won’t have to scope it out, chase after it, or wonder about it. You will know. You will discern. And if you will follow it He will do things that you never have imagined. He will do exceedingly abundantly above all you ask or think!