See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:19
Do you relish change? Does the prospect of receiving God’s ‘new thing’ and losing your ‘old thing’ energise you? Or, does it stress you out? For each of us, the response will be influenced by personality, experience and circumstances, but personally I tend to get comfortable with my Old Thing, such as when I hesitated to take a new job I was offered some years ago.
Yet we know that God is always at work: wanting to transform and restore us and the world, and engage us in that process. While we love inspiring stories of renewal and transformation that are already completed with a happy ending, it is more challenging when the work is still in progress (and requires actual work!) to perceive the New Thing through exercising faith and persevering through times of unbelief or opposition.
We don’t generally think we live in a ‘wilderness or wasteland’ but we are closer to that than we think. In particular because of our worldly comforts and concerns, we can easily become blind and complacent by neglecting our own spiritual life and the physical and spiritual welfare of those around us. Out of that mess, God is always offering a new way for us and the world, for His glory and our good: He is always doing a New Thing, and inviting us to cooperate or participate in it.
So, what New Thing is God doing before your eyes that you have not yet seen? What is ‘springing up now’ that you have not yet perceived? For sure there is something, great or small. Are we closer to God now than a year ago? Will we be closer a year from now? What is He doing that is calling us closer, or asking us to help Him call others closer? How will we respond? Which comfort blanket does He want us to let go? Have we been delaying a particular response or action?
A New Thing may mean believing for and receiving a breakthrough in our own life, or in someone else’s life through making ourselves available in some form of spiritual or material outreach. This applies to us individually and is also at the heart of Island ECC’s mission collectively. So it is no surprise that the leaders of the church firmly believe the Bold Faith initiative, to acquire our own premises as a firm platform for growing our ministries to meet the various needs of Hong Kong, is a New Thing guided by God.
Once we have seen a challenging New Thing from God that lies ahead and validated it in prayer, we can sustain our faith by looking back at what He has done for us in the past. We can have that ‘bold faith’ not only from our individual history but also as a church when we consider how God has blessed and used Island ECC since its establishment.
It is always a privilege to be invited to participate in God’s New Thing, though it often stretches us. And anyway, continuing with our Old Thing is not always a long-term option: I finally took that new job I was offered and just a few years later my previous firm closed down after over 150 years in business.
- Thank God for He is always at work to transform and restore us and the world.
- Pray that we may see, believe and embrace the New Things that He is doing – and be able and willing as necessary to let our Old Things go.