Do not call to mind the former things,
or ponder the things of the past.
Behold, I will do something new,
now it will spring forth.
Will you not be aware of it ?
I will even make a roadway in the wilderness.
Rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43:18-19
my heart needs reminding of this lately.
that He will make a way.
even in the desert dust.
even when the old wounds and losses pull hard and i wonder if things in life can ever be set to right.
but then i look, and right here in God’s word He promises newness.
He promises water in the desert; rivers no less.
He says don’t even ponder things of the past because He’s doing something all together different. so don’t miss it. (alright… i’m listening Jesus !!)
He is, in a word, saying I’m redeeming.
it’s honestly one of the most beautiful mysteries that comes from a Life with God. and most of the time it is beyond our understanding…because it happens bit by bit, and then suddenly all at once. maybe that’s why it can be easy to miss. but it’s as if God wants to remind us that He is behind the scenes ALWAYS. shaping fullness from empty. recovering our losses and things we’d counted forgotten and broken…and writing a new ending to the story we thought we knew so well.
and with redemption, comes the truest foretaste of heaven for our souls.
i believe it’s as if God is saying “pssst come see what wild things I’m up to for your good…you just won’t believe what happens next !!”
so, if you’re at all like me, and can easily forget the good that God is up to or wonder if your story could ever have a more beautiful ending…here are a few things God has been reminding me about redemption.
it always calls out hope.
it calls out hope from the deepest cracks in us.
it shakes it’s fist against what has tried to scar us and hold us down.
it’s a divine protestor against all that tries to steal our joy, against the enemy of our souls.
it is grace that comes on the heals of desert winds. withering winds that blow hard, trying to ruin us.
redemption is the rain.
rain that floods the barren ground, washing down to the very center of us where the seeds of new Life are buried.
and here is where the miracle happens.
because those seeds are the tiniest beginnings of His glory planted into the soul of us.
i have a favorite story about my friend who loves to set beautiful tables. she scours cookbooks and creates the loveliest food. feasts for the senses and tables that invite deep communion. her heart literally comes alive as she offers this gift of Life around her table. it’s no surprise how her story left her wounded in the very place where those glorious seeds were sprouting. that she, as a little 4 year old girl, was left time and again at the dinner table in front of a cold plate of mushy, tasteless vegetables. she had to sit there well past the meal time until she finished every last cold pea. and drink every last bit of warm milk. sometimes it was hours.
alone at the table.
what was stolen in those early years felt irredeemable.
but i’ve seen with my own eyes Dana’s glory revealed…and it shimmers. it’s the ending God had in mind all along.
so much of the time, the assault on our most tender parts seems out of God’s reach. we forget that He isn’t constrained by time and space when He promises to recover and reform our losses.
to make ALL things new.
to stir up love again for a widow, when she wondered if her heart could ever trust and feel for a man again. that aching place inside her felt too deep to fill and hope felt far too risky.
but God had a new adventurous love chapter still in mind.
to bring laughter again for a chemo patient who’s lost every last hair, but keeps a stash of wigs in her trunk that come in handy on those “bad no-hair days.” then to watch this beautiful heart be made free amidst and in spite of the ravages of cancer…because God was inviting her into a far more sacred and glorious dance.
to restore hope to a momma who holds a new baby in her arms, after burying one years before. to watch her smell that delicious baby scent and be reminded that it holds both bitter and sweet thoughts and images. because now, she’s made peace with the false ideas of what goodness looks like. she knows grief and joy are both parts of God’s invitation to experience Him more deeply.
these are all pictures of redemption.
different pictures of those fresh shoots of new Life that the Lover of our souls is uncovering and recovering.
these stories all share a sweetness that is vivid , unmistakable and often unexpected. because redemption so often surprises us. and don’t you just LOVE that about God.
how He turns “valleys of death” into “valleys of hope”.
He just asks us to wait expectantly, even when we can’t fully see what’s ahead.
to wait and watch .
and believe that somehow God, against all odds, turns ashes into beauty and cold peas into a beautiful feast.
for my shimmering friend Dana on your birthday. thank you for inviting me to your table and for being that constant reminder of what redemption looks like. you encourage me to live courageously in the messy middle of my story while i wait for the new ending God is writing. you are a rare and beautiful gift and i promise to NEVER make you eat cooked vegetables. with deep love and affection ,