If you are like me you probably can hardly believe that it’s 2007. I’m still wondering where 2006 went so quickly. It’s January 2nd and I find myself sitting in the Fuller Theological Seminary library firing off this blog between class breaks right now. I was hoping that there would be a little more downtime between the holidays and starting school, but no such luck. I know that sounds crazy but sometimes the holidays aren’t as restful as we would like.
But now that it’s 2007 I’m beginning to take stock of 2006. What great things happened? What things do I wish I could do over (either because they were so great or because I wish I had another shot at it)? Where and when did I feel God’s presence the most? What dreams do I have for 2007? Etc, etc.
I’ve been reflecting on a text that one of our pastors preached from this last Sunday…Isaiah 43:16-21:
v. 16 This is what the LORD says–he who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters,
v. 17 who drew out the chariots and horses, the army and reinforcements together, and they lay there, never to rise again, extinguished, snuffed out like a wick:
v. 18 “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.
v. 19 See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.
v. 20 The wild animals honor me, the jackals and the owls, because I provide water in the desert and streams in the wasteland, to give drink to my people, my chosen,
v. 21 the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise.
In vs. 16-17 the LORD reminds them of the things of the past…He reminds them of their deliverance from the Egyptians through the Red Sea. The Israelites have a past that they can look back on and reflect over. Their past gives them impetus and courage and confidence to live in the present and into the future. But the LORD also exhorts them to not remember, or rather, “to forget the former things…to not dwell in the past.” Why? Because the LORD wants them to know that He is doing a new thing.
What does that mean for us? How do we live in the in-between of remembering our pasts and how they have shaped us, but not dwelling or living in them? It is surely a tough thing to do. For me, it tells me that I worship a God who is faithful and who has continually led His people out of bondage and into freedom. But that as a follower of God I am not to stay in the past and simply let my past define who I am. The LORD wants to remind me, and wants to remind you that He is going to do a new thing. Just as leading His people through the Red Sea was a new thing, they are not to only hold on to that and let that be the only event that defines them. He is continually moving them into new and challening events that push them to new levels of trust and faithfulness.
As 2007 looms ahead there are many things that are uncertain for me. Things regarding work, regarding family, regarding location. But I can look back on the past and see God’s faithfulness in my life, but I am to not live there, but to focus on God as He is about to do a new thing in my life…something that I am probably completely unprepared for.
Do you have any thoughts about 2006 or 2007 that you would like to share with me, with us, as we to are embarking on a new thing? What new things do you think the LORD has in store for you? What new things do you hope the LORD will be doing in your life?