Isaiah 43:19 Behold, I (God) 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.
Happy New Year! Wow, it’s here! Only a few hours left of 2020 and here we embark on the new adventure of 2021. What were some of your highlights of 2020? What exciting adventures did God bring you through? What were the ups and downs and all-arounds of this very interesting and yet troubling year? Yes, 2020 included social unrest, which is continuing. This year also included political turbulence, which is continuing. And yes, the frustrations, pains, losses, hurts, and devastation of the pandemic are still with us. Actually, 2021 is looking like ‘Same song, second verse. A whole lot louder and whole lot worse!’ But does it have to be so?
God’s people in the Bible, in the Old Testament, were struggling. In the Bible verse above, Isaiah the prophet was reminding these people, and us, that as God led Israel out of the hardships of slavery in Egypt, God can something like this again. The exodus from bondage in Egypt was repeatable. And though life seems hopeless, God can make a way in what seems to be a wilderness. Kind of like this pandemic or political mess or whatever ‘wilderness’ we seem to be in. As well, God can bring about refreshment when there seems to be none, like rivers in the desert. God does that! Like He provided manna and quail (see Exodus 16) and water (Exodus 17:1-7) as Israel wandered. Actually, all through the Exodus story, God provided. Yes, it was difficult and God’s path is at times different than the way we think it should be, but He still makes a way and provides. A key is to…
Isaiah 43:18 Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old.
Don’t wallow in what did not go our way, but look to the new things God will do. The Apostle Paul put it this way…
Philippians 3:13-14 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
It’s the idea of strapping on some grit, trusting in the Lord as He makes a way and provides what is needed, and moving forward to whatever this new year will bring.
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.
Just like these people in the Bible, we don’t go it alone.
Isaiah 41:10 fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
The key is to place our trust in God. Sure, we can find our peace in trusting God or not. With both choices, we all face the same circumstances. What makes a difference is those who trust in God can find joy and peace and whole lot more as we endure the hardships. See, we are never promised that we would be free from difficulty in life, be we are promised The Lord will be with us and guide us (see John 16:33, Matthew 11:28-30).
We have no idea what this new year will bring, especially now as the pandemic rages, BUT we have an amazing, miraculous, loving God who makes a way in any wilderness and provides, even when all seems hopeless. That’s who I am trusting in. I hope you will too. There is a great song that speaks well of God being this ‘Way Maker.’ Click here to listen to it and note the words and let God encourage you.
Church is a wonderful place to be reminded of and even find God’s way. If you don’t already have a church you regularly attend, we would like to invite you to view or visit Neighborhood Church. Due to the new COVID-19 restrictions, we have a 9am live-stream gathering from our Cypress campus and another pre-recorded gathering at our Los Alamitos campus. At 10:30am, at the Cypress Campus, we have an in-person, outdoor gathering (Los Al has one at 9am at their campus). Our webpage has information on how to connect with us or you can find us online at neighborhoodchurch.com. As well, if you would like to view any of our past worship gatherings or videos, visit our YouTube channel, or just search Neighborhood Church Cypress or Neighborhood Church Los Alamitos on their YouTube site.
Trusting in God, our Way Maker, along with you,