A NEW year, 2018 brings with it many opportunities for newness. The joy of stopping for even a moment and marking a new day brings hope. Each New Year’s day there are lists, sometimes called New Year’s resolutions, which include some leftover from last year, dreams and hopes not yet realized, and then there are some old hopes which have been on the list for what seems like centuries and then there are the most easy to achieve, the sure things which we list just to be certain we will succeed, and then finally there are the New ones.
In the Bible, God tells Isaiah, “Behold 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)
God was speaking about change. Where there was no possibility of water in a barren place, there would be a drop, a fountain, a stream, an ocean. There would be places where those who feel dried out, empty, parched, would have the refreshment of a tall drink. There would be change, renewal, and a new life, colored with hope and joy and throats no longer dry. It isn’t just about molding the old into something shaped or formed differently. It isn’t about adding a new lane to the highway, getting a new hairdo or coat; this change is new. Something not seen or perceived before will take place!
Isaiah’s passages say something new will spring up. I don’t think most of us are used to that kind of newness. Fear often leads us. We aren’t too comfortable with the whole view in front of us changing in color, images, people and places. But that is what God offers, and it will “spring up” when we least expect it. The picture will be completely different, and maybe that is what we need. Not an add-on, but a “new way in the wilderness.”
I picture the holes in the walking paths at Disneyworld in Florida where the ground which is made to be walked over, just begins to shoot water out from the small holes in the walkways. The first time I saw that, I jumped back and yet had a smile of joy on my face. Water was cooling the heat of the day and I didn’t do anything – I just received the gift!
So, where are the new ways God is creating and calling our church to perceive? Where will the Springs of Hope in our dry, barren places spring up? Pray that together as members and friends, our hearts and ears, eyes and feet, might be ready for God’s gift of Newness!
May the New Year send you into the world with God’s new hope,