“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 43:19, NIV)
After a conversation that I was a part of yesterday, this passage has been echoing in my mind. I am working with a group which is charged with the task of determining where the future of a larger body within an organization may be going. We have had a multitude of discussions and there are some recurring trains of thought. The group is confident that the future means there needs to be a radical change from the past in the structure and the focus of the larger body. So this is why the passage from Isaiah keeps coming to my mind.
I think that there are some major points found in this one verse which speak to me today and should probably speak to many Christians. The passage begins by God declaring to a group of people who are stuck in exile that something new is taking place. God is doing something new. This is the action of God and not of some human mind. God has decided to do something new and it is going to happen. For me, this reminds me of two important truths….. I am not in charge and it is futile to resist if God is the one acting.
The second point that has caught my attention is in regards to timing. God says “NOW (my emphasis) it springs up;” this is not some future event but what is happening right now. God’s timing most often is not our own. In fact, there are many occurrences when God’s timing definitely does not align with mine. However, since God is control, God gets to determine the timing.
The third point is found in the very first word of the verse and in the second half of the second sentence. The verse begins with “See” and the second half of the sentence states, “do you not perceive it?” This led me to understand that God intends me to take notice of what God is doing. Then I am troubled by the question God asks regarding my perception. I wonder why I and others struggle to see what God is doing. I think that if we are being honest, the major reason that we do not perceive God’s actions is because we do not want to see them. If we see them, then we have to respond to them by either accepting or rejecting them. If my statement earlier that resistance is futile is correct, then the only option available to us is to accept God’s actions. If God’s actions require us to change, or to do away with past ways, or any other uncomfortable response, we try to bury our heads in the sand and ignore that God is doing something new.
The remainder of the verse tells us the reason for God’s new direction. God can easily see when we are stuck in the wilderness. God knows that we become thirsty and our lives dry up. So in these new actions of God, God is trying to provide for us relief. By doing something new, God leads us out of the wilderness by showing us the way and provides the streams that will quench our thirst. It is clear to me that many of us, and the organizations of which we are members, are definitely in the wilderness. This portion of the verse reminds me that there is hope and possibility. God has already begun something new which will get us out of the wilderness and provide a cool drink for our lives.
So the challenge to me and probably many of you is to look and see what is this new thing God is doing and calling us to take notice. Then I must trust and follow down the path that God is providing in the wilderness by this new thing.