Learning life lessons can be hard. And it always seems to be the same traps dressed in different camouflage that ooze their way into our lives again and again. Things like busyness, pride, and jealousy can derail our lives and our relationships when left unchecked. For me, it’s control. Control is a terrible lie and a trigger for anxiety that sucks the joy out of my life. I’ll never forget one day I was grasping for control with knots in my stomach and my mind spinning. Feeling like I was going to pop, God poured truth into that moment. Control is only God’s. Anxiety melts at the mention of it! But still…it likes to sneak up on me and grab me when I least expect it. I am still human after all.
Everyone has different weaknesses that can make a mess out of everything. The Israelites had an issue with idols. Why on earth would anyone want to craft an object and then think that object has control over them, the seasons, wealth or health? To me it makes no sense, but that was their weakness, and they fell into the trap again and again! Isaiah was constantly calling the Israelites to turn away from idols and turn to God. God was constantly calling them to Himself.
God’s persistent love and faithfulness in the book of Isaiah is what drew me in to a song. The prophet Isaiah is calling to the Israelites to come back. Return to your creator! Chapter after chapter after chapter! But they’ve been though a lot as a people. Would God really accept them back? What about the traps of sin that have brought them to where they are? How will they get to where God is leading them to?
“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 desert and streams in the wasteland” Isaiah 43:18-19
“Do not fear…When you pass through the waters I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” Isaiah 43:2
Life is hard and messy. It can be cold and painful. But there is nothing we go through that goes unnoticed by our Savior. Just like a metal worker uses heat and water to form and strengthen, God uses the fire and waters in our life’s journey to shape us and form us into strong beautifully crafted vessels for Him to pour into. Do not fear! We do not remain in the fire. Fear not! We do not remain in the waters of the deep. Do not be afraid! As God is calling us to himself, he promises His presence and protection. And even though we may constantly be failing in the children of God department, He promises newness.
But, it doesn’t always feel like something new is happening, and we can be tempted to look at our lives and dwell on the mess and the pain. But those things are not who we are. Victory was in the plan from the beginning through Jesus. Sometimes we feel it and live it, but other times it seems like an empty promise. Isaiah 43:18 tells us to “see” and to “perceive”. We must look for what He is doing in our lives. We need to see where He parted the waters so we could make it to the other side safe and dry. We need to see those times He brought us through refining fires so we could be strong and beautiful. We need to see when He led us through deserts so we could be refreshed by Him. When I allow my heart and my mind to go to this place there is so much peace and joy. This is where my life phrase came from…“He is good, faithful, and true.”
He’s not going to leave us where we are. It is His desire to grow us and move us into new and better things. He knows every fiber of our being. He knows our thoughts, our desires, our good and our bad…and still loves us by the way! But He doesn’t stop there. He knows the good that can be. He knows how He can work in our lives to create beauty that we could never see. All those hidden spaces in our hearts that remain unseen even by us, when released into the Father’s hands, can be cleaned, mended, healed, and made new!
So forget the old things!!! Open up your heart and cling to God’s promises! Allow Him to make you new because He is good, faithful, and true!