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)
A new year is upon us. Many use this as a time to set goals, make resolutions, and embrace new habits. Opening a new calendar carries a sense of starting fresh, trying again, changing for the better.
But sometimes we feel stuck, hopeless, or lacking options. We can believe past experiences and choices have consequences that are insurmountable. Because we cannot see a way forward or better circumstances, it is hard to believe they exist. If change is outside of our immediate control, it feels like an impossibility.
Rest assured, sisters; God is not bound by the same limitations as us! He knows and sees what we cannot (Daniel 2:22). His Word promises that He is doing new things. His will is always accomplished (Job 42:1-2). His way is perfect (Psalm 18:30). But the place where His is working may not be where we are looking:
I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. (Ezekiel 36:25-27, NIV)
God is more concerned about your heart than your circumstances. He knows a new and improved heart is our biggest need. Far more life does not come from our circumstances, rather from our heart connection to Him. The new thing He wants to do this year is within you. He wants to give you peace where you have worry, fear, or anxiety. He wants to give you joy where you have depression, apathy, or pain. He wants to give you love where you have doubts, hurts, or loneliness. He wants to give you hope where you have despair or hopelessness. But these heart changes do not guarantee the challenges you face will evaporate. These are found in accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior and receiving the Holy Spirit. With Him at the center of your heart, you may find Him doing something new even if you remain in the difficult situation.
Once He has renewed our hearts, sometimes we fail to perceive the new thing He is doing because we are looking in the wrong place. If we will only accept one solution from Him, or are only willing to look in one direction for His work, we will miss it. He has made it clear that we are incapable of anticipating exactly what He will do:
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. (Isaiah 55:8, NIV)
Yet, He has also promised not to hide Himself or His work from us:
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:13, NIV)
Far more life trusts that God is working and allows Him to work in the timing and way that He deems best. It scans the horizon expectantly, eager to see where He will appear and what gift He has in store. It anticipates His goodness, provision, and wisdom. And it is rewarded with more than expected, even though it may also be different than expected.
As you anticipate this year how do you feel about it?
What new thing are you planning to do this year?
What new thing has God done for you (or within you) in the past?
How do you feel about the possibility that God will change your heart rather than your circumstances?
Ask God to help you look for His work everywhere and not limit your search to the places you want it to be.
Embrace a renewed heart — and far more life — as you recognize and celebrate His work!
Copyright 2021, Shari Damaso