“Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
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.
Isaiah 43:18-19 NIV
It is almost time for another new year to begin. A time for resolutions, fresh starts, trying new things, and seeking to become the people God calls us to be. It’s a time that you will likely set goals for 2015: reading the bible, eating healthier, making time for family, and more. In Isaiah God speaks to this new, and leaves a promise to His people, new is going to happen, and God is going to be behind it. We hear a promise that the Holy Spirit is on the move, that God is bringing life to places there was once was none, but God asks do you see it?
This passage begins with a strange call, to forget the former things, and not to dwell on the past. It’s not that God is anti-history, but instead understands that for most of you, your tendency is to fixate on the past. To focus on the good old days, the times of past, when things were better, more the way I liked it. A time where I had more hair, my body ached less, or family or the church were different. Yet God reminds us here that new is constant, change is normal and a regular part of God’s work in this world. God tells us to not fixate on the things of the past, not as a negative, but a promise, that what God is doing new, is so much greater than what is right now, you will move ahead with great joy into what new things God has when and if you see it. If, because you can miss it. Your eyes can be so fixed on the past, on the way it was, or the way you wanted it to be, you can miss what God is doing right now.
I preached on this passage last Sunday (http://tcc-online.org/listen/, “All Things New”), and I had someone quickly say to me, “I want new things from God in my life, but I have no space for it. I wake up early, work a full day, run the kids to soccer, as I read my emails, come home eat dinner, run laundry, and collapse into bed at midnight, just to get up and do it all again the next day.” The new things God has for your life and mine, are not meant to be added on top of what already is. God’s new things are meant to be our priority over all else. To experience what new God has for your life, it likely means stopping, changing, or walking away from some of what is right now in your life. It means rearranging to make sure the most important things are most important. For us to experience God’s new, it means making space, setting priorities, so that we can experience God’s new blessings in our life. God promises us that His new things are happening right now, but do you perceive it?