from the wilderness

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“Don’t remember the former things; don’t dwell on things past. Watch! I’m about to carry out something new! And now it’s springing up — don’t you recognize it? I’m making a way in the wilderness and paths in the desert.” Isaiah 43:18-19

This is one of those verses that makes me smile when I see it on Pinterest.

If you look at the life of Christ, it’s amazing how much He gave grace. How freely he showered compassion on every less-than-perfect human around Him. He forgave sins, He listened to those without a voice, and to everyone who sought healing—physical, emotional, spiritual—He said “Go, your faith has healed you” (Mark 10:52). Our God is a God of mercy, of love, of second chances, of new mornings.

Yet sometimes, I think that when He looks at me, at my life, He says “mmm, not you.”

I think one of the hardest things is not uncertainty about the future, but uncertainty about the past. It’s not where will I go? who will I be? what will I do? And don’t get me wrong, that’s plenty scary, but not as bad as the inverse. It’s what if where I go isn’t far enough from where I’ve been? what if who I am is who I’ll always be? what if what I have done overshadows what I’ll do? The future is unknown, but there’s always a bit of anticipation that comes with the unexpected. The past is pretty much set—actually, there’s no ‘pretty much’ about it; it’s untouchable. 

And for a Fixer like me, that’s a problem.

Because it means no matter what I do going forward, there’s this element that I can’t control, and it’s the girl that I was 2 seconds, 2 days, 2 years ago. And while I don’t make a habit of doing things I regret, it’s bound to happen. And current me, say nothing of future me, can’t do anything about it.

Cue Isaiah 43. 

If you have a minute or three, go read the chapter, it’s amazing. 

God doesn’t say that He can only fix my future. He doesn’t say that He will make beautiful what I haven’t messed up already. Remember the first time you wrote on a chalkboard, messed up, and no matter how many times you wiped or washed that board, there was a little bit of white powder left? God doesn’t bring a rag for me to wipe the chalk off my chalkboard; He trades me for a whiteboard. He doesn’t wait for my “wilderness” to become an oasis, or for my damaged life to be pretty enough for Him to work in, but instead transforms that wilderness with streams of water, flooding the barren ground with life. Even I am not exempt from the love of the Father. 

What’s more, it’s a promise. A promise to not only forget the past, but of newness. Creation is such a trite word nowadays, making us think of apple trees and firmament and little else, but it’s such a miracle. It’s more than a development, but a transformation, something beautiful out of something nonexistent. Light from nothing, birds from emptiness, lillies from thin air. A new life for you and me. 

 

 

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