“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” (Isaiah 43:19, ESV)
I have heard this verse used a many times since the beginning of my faith walk with Jesus. It was, in my observation, always connected to times of “revival” in the church. God started to move. Excitement grew. And the pastor or evangelist inevitably pulled it out of his hat and used it to stir the pot and get the congregation even more worked up.
But Isaiah 43 is part of a Messianic prophecy, pointing out to God’s people, Israel specifically in context, that He is their Savior, their deliverer.
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.” (Isaiah 43:2, ESV)
God confirms to them that He will be with them, and sustain them, through difficult times.
I write this at a time of difficulty. A global pandemic rages on. Businesses are forced to close their doors. Churches are scrambling to provide for their congregation in ways that have never before been necessary. There is a shaking, which seems only to bring separation. I have been going through a shaking of sorts as well. But in the midst of this shaking, God drew me to Isaiah 43.
At first, I thought, “I must not be hearing God right. This is a revival verse.” But as I read through the chapter, and the one before it, I realized that it was all a part of a Messianic prophecy. God was actually telling me that Jesus would use the difficulties to bring about a new thing!
And, as I think about it, why wouldn’t God use our hard times, our brokenness and emptiness, our sicknesses and pains, to bring about good? Why wouldn’t He use them to help us find in Him a new and glorious focus?
“Thus says the LORD, who makes a way in the sea, a path in the mighty waters….Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old.” (Isaiah 43:16,18, ESV)
When the world around us is roiled and embittered, when our own world is mixed up and our spiritual vision seems impaired, God wants us to shift our focus. He deeply desires to do, in us, a new thing. It is not His plan for us to wade neck deep through hard times. Nor is it His plan for us to drown in a “sea of sorrows.”
No. When we find ourselves in turmoil and conflict, it is His plan that we would look for the “new thing.” When we are faithful to look to Him in all things, He is always faithful to show us new things. He hasn’t promised that He will remove us from our storms; but He has promised to be with us in them.
I have purposed in my heart that whenever difficult times arise, I will look to the Lord, for in Him I find new things, and new ways to serve Him in faithfulness. And while the storm rages around us, He will do new things within us.
As always, these are the musings of a mindful disciple. Blessings on your week!
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