Updated: Jul 12
Isaiah 43:18-19 ESV - "Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. 19 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."
Like just about everybody else, I am glad to say goodbye to 2020. But I need to go beyond saying goodbye to it and Look Forward to what God is doing in the future, and do that with great anticipation.
I was on the track team in high school, and would, from time to time, run as part of the 440 relay team. I usually ran the second leg of the relay. After receiving the baton from my teammate, I new that I would have to run 100 yards and then pass the baton to another runner. That was my finish line.
Can you imagine being in a full sprint race where there is no finish line? You run, and run, and you're never able to find a stopping place? Sprint races have limits, usually one lap, or 400 yards (meters). Beyond 400 yards (meters) the runner has to change the way he or she runs. Now they must pace themselves, run with a rhythm that strikes a balance between running with maximum energy in the moment and keeping enough energy in reserve to be able to finish the race. This is what is like to follow Christ.
Proverbs 13:12 ESV - "Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life."
Not understanding the nature of our journey with the Lord can lead to discouragement. We need to run NOT looking for a finish line. We need to run knowing that there is no finish line until the Lord takes us home to be with Him.
We had winter baseball in high school and in my senior I thought I would try out. One day we came to the practice field except, on that day we didn't use need gloves, or bats, or baseballs. I don't remember what it was, but one, or all of us, had made the coach mad. On that day there was only one item on the coaches agenda for us; RUN! And that we did.
The area where our practice field was situated was a little more than a quarter of a mile around. The coach didn't tell us how many laps to take. He just said run until you here the whistle. I stopped counting after about thirty laps. At first I ran waiting for the whistle to sound. I ran hoping that each step would be the last. Lap after lap passed and no whistle. Running like was horrible. I felt like I would pass out.
At some point I stopped focusing on a whistle that seemed it would never come and focused only on the next step. That is literally what I did. I didn't think any further ahead than the next step. Not long after I did this something happened.
I had heard about a thing called "runner's high", something experienced by distance runners. I experienced "runner's high" on that day. Focused on simply staying in motion, paying attention to the rhythm of my feet hitting the ground and of each breath, inhaling and exhaling, suddenly the pain and agony vanished. For awhile after that I ran with the greatest ease I'd ever experienced, even to this day. I don't think I would ever have achieved this incredible experience if I hadn't changed my attitude and focus.
We need to run like a marathoner not a sprinter. We must think about the race correctly and NOT with a false hope. We need to run one stride at a time. There is no stopping place in this life. If we do not correct our understanding of the race, looking for a stopping place that will never come, the unrealized, false hope will weaken our heart in our pursuit of God.
When we adjust our thinking about the race and have proper expectations there is no disappointment and more than that a correct expectation, or desire, leads to renewed energy, or life with which to run.
"THE NATURE OF GOD & OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM"
Lamentations 3:22-23 - "The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; 23 they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness."
2 Corinthians 3:18 KJV - "But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, [even] as by the Spirit of the Lord."
Our God has no borders, or boundaries. In this life knowing Him fully is not possible. There is no way for a finite vessel to contain the infinite measure of God.
Our walk with the Lord is exactly that, a Walk. Forward progress into a new experiences with Him daily. Our God is a God of the new thing. Though we can never fully know Him, we must run desiring to know as much of Him as we can in this life. Listen to what Paul had to say on this subject.
"FORGET THE PAST"
Philippians 3:13-14 NLT - "13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us."
We need to learn from the past and then let it go! Have you ever tried to run forward while looking backward? It's nearly impossible to do. You will likely fall.
Luke 9:23 Jesus tells that the nature of our relationship with Him is nearness through following. ("deny yourself, take your cross, daily, and follow after me.")
When we are travelling through unknown and uncharted places it is important to keep our eyes on our guide, Jesus Christ. The more we look to the past, the more likely we are to lose sight of our guide, and the more likely we are to stumble and fall.
God is always leading to "Green Pastures", new places of rest and regeneration with fresh water and pastures.
"EYES FORWARD & FOCUSED"
I am grateful for the experiences I've had with the Lord over the course of my life. As great as the things He has done have been, I must live with a hunger and expectation of the New Things that God is doing. My eyes must be focused forward.
In order to experience the New Things that God has for us, we must live each day Looking forward, in the direction of what is coming, not back to what has been.
Keeping our eyes on Jesus is achieved through continual fellowship with Him through the Holy Spirit, and this through His Word and communion through prayer.
Jesus, in Matthew 6, tells us to go into the closet, the private place. In Matthew 10 Jesus tells that He will whisper things into our ears in the darkness, or, in the private place. This is where He imparts the "New Things" to us. It is those things that we are to declare for all to hear. These are the things that will release His kingdom and purpose, through us, and into our world.
"OUR GOD IS A GOD OF THE NEW THING"
Did you catch what God said in Isaiah 43:19? He asks "Do You Not Perceive It?" He is letting us know that experiencing what He is doing is up to us. If we are Not Perceiving it then our attention is focused in the wrong direction.
So here are a few things we should do as we leave 2020 and move into 2021.
Quit Asking God to Do What He's Done Before, the Way He's done it Before.
Learn from What God Has Done, and then Look For to What He IS Doing.
Don't Let The Business of This World Become Your Focus.
Get Alone with the Lord and Let Him Whisper in Your Ear the Things He is Doing.
Run without stopping, one stride at a time, knowing there is no stopping this side of Heaven.
May we Expect and Experience the new things that God is doing in 2021 and beyond.