“Do not cling to events of the past or dwell on what happened long ago.” Isaiah 43:18
Imagine living in a constant place of embracing newness! That’s what Alvin Toffler predicted in his 1970 book “Future Shock“, which forecast a time when change would happen so rapidly that people would end up in a state of shock, numbed by their inability to cope with newness, change and uncertainty.
But newness doesn’t have to have sinister qualities. If you could walk deeper and deeper into the glories of God you would be overcome with the wonder and glory which revealed itself in constant new insights and displays, but you would not be damaged by that process.
So I have a positive sense about newness and moving on to the next thing which God has for us – even though I also love harvesting the things of the past.
A Word to Chris
In the very early 1970’s, while Toffler’s predictions were gaining wide currency, God spoke to me from a text that was over 2,500 years old. Instead of suggesting anything fearful about change and newness, God assured me that He would grant me an on-going experience of newness and open-ended possibilities.
I was led to Isaiah 43:16-19 and ever since those verses have been special to me. The passage is all about newness and being willing to enter into the new things which lie ahead in God.
“Thus says the LORD, which makes a way in the sea, and a path in the mighty waters; Which brings forth the chariot and horse, the army and the power; they shall lie down together, they shall not rise: they are extinct, they are quenched as tow. Remember not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:16-19
Lessons About Newness
This short passage contains several significant lessons about newness. In particular, it addresses the main barriers which most of us see to the possibility of new things emerging in our lives.
While we all desire newness in some part of our life or other, we often find that, try as we might, we can’t bring it about. Many people spend their life locked into mindsets, circumstances, habits and the like which block their passage into new things.
Three Common Obstacles
Three Common obstacles exist which obstruct your efforts to do something new or get a breakthrough in an area where you need to change. These three things are: Barriers; Enemies; and Fear.
Barriers are things that are impassable to you and which hold you in place where you are. These barriers may be Failure, Lack of Qualifications, some Physical or Emotional limitation, etc. Whatever the barrier may be in your case it will be something that traps you.
Enemies are people who won’t let you change or move on. They may be people who pull you down, make you fearful, undermine your confidence, or mock and abuse you. They may be people who use threats against you or words of cursing.
Fear of an Empty Future is a serious fear which cautions people from moving ahead into the unknown. What is the value of freedom if it leads you to a life of emptiness and barrenness? Many of us long for freedom and at the same time live in fear of having to explore new life, because we know we have nothing to guarantee that that new life will be anything but emptiness and frustration.
God’s Word on the Matter of Newness
Now that we have identified three enemies to newness, let us see what the Bible says about these three things that hold us back from newness.
Firstly God assures us that newness is His Business! He is the one who will do the new thing. He is the one who will cause it to come into being.
“Behold I will do a new thing, now it will spring forth” (so it is God’s Work not ours) Isaiah 43:19.
That is great news. It is not up to us to make it happen. It is not up to us to imagine how it can happen. It is the Lord’s doing!
God goes so far as to describe the miracle of transformation which He will achieve on our behalf. The desert place, where there doesn’t seem to be any opportunity at all, will blossom like a rose (Isaiah 35:1). There will be rivers of water in the desert (Isaiah 43:19).
Second God opens up miraculous means to fulfill His promises! God “makes a way in the sea”. God opened the Red Sea for Israel and He will make way for newness in your life by removing the barrier! What is impassable to you is nothing to Him.
Third God removes the enemies to your success. The Egyptian army was pursuing Israel but God dealt with them so “they shall not rise”. God drowned the Egyptians and He will personally remove the enemy of your freedom too, as you call upon Him. No matter how intimidating the opposition may be, God is able to remove them in a single day and leave you free to journey with Him.
Fourth God promises to completely transform your situation! What was barrenness becomes fruitfulness. What was wilderness becomes a garden. What was desert becomes lakes of water. God promises to “make rivers in the desert”. No matter how barren you feel, or how hopeless your future, God can make the difference for you. He will pour out the rain of His Spirit on you so new shoots of life will appear and qualities you thought you’d never possess become part of your life and experience.
So that’s how God makes newness, but there’s something you have to do. You are instructed to Forget the Past! Don’t look back at your failure or your limitations. Don’t remember the words of criticism or the mocking or the failure. Your tomorrow is in now way limited by your yesterday! So forget the past and let God open up for you a brand new future!