Back in February 2009 when my husband’s job was eliminated, we experienced so many emotions: fear, anxiety, uncertainty, sadness…everything you would expect.
However, there was also a sense of anticipation. This is not a typical reaction to such a major life event, but as Christians, we are called to walk by faith, NOT by sight. We recognized this was a personal invitation from Jesus Himself to walk with Him along what looked (to us) like a very scary path.
Over and over again, He gave me this verse for that season: “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. 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 desert.” (Isaiah 43:18-19).
That verse became my lifeline during those days. It speaks of several things:
*Live TODAY. The past is past. Over. Done. Gone. We choose where we place our focus. Why focus on what is finished and can never be retrieved? Jesus gives us a new focus. We cannot dwell in the past. But we can and should dwell in the present. Right here, right now is all that any of us have. Now is the only place where we can experience God. His Name is I AM. So live in the moment with the knowledge that you and Jesus are moving forward one step at a time.
*Jesus is ALWAYS at work. He is never idle. As John Piper says, “He is always at work in a thousand different ways that we cannot see.” His ways are always fresh, exciting, bold, and brilliant. Open your eyes to what He may be doing right in the midst of your mess. Pray that He would give you those eyes to see. Even when you cannot begin to imagine what He is doing, HE IS DOING A NEW THING! You may not be able to perceive what that is. You may not have any idea where you are going but rest assured, He has a destination in mind! And it will be for your highest good and His highest glory.
*Jesus ALWAYS makes a way. Always. He knows exactly what is going on in your life. What has taken you by surprise has not taken Him by surprise. He knows all things and He is firmly seated on His throne. There is a saying that says, “If He has brought you to it, He will bring you through it” and that is true. He has permitted this season in your life with great love and intention. You may be in a place right now where you see no way out. When you know Jesus as your Savior, that is never true. Nothing…no thing is impossible with Him. He always has a plan. As this verse says, He can make streams in the desert and a way where there is no way. You are safe in His all-encompassing, loving care.
As the days unfolded and Doug and I made the conscious decision to cling to this verse Jesus had given us, I had an epiphany one afternoon. We had been discussing what we would do to celebrate when this season was over. But…
What if we went out to dinner to celebrate BEFORE this season ended?
We had this verse from Jesus that He is at work. We know that He is good and kind and can only do good to us. HE is our life: not our stuff, our home, our paychecks. He had taught us to live with an open hand. We could trust Him with the outcome of our situation, whatever happened.
Why not celebrate in anticipation of what He was going to do?
So we did.
We picked a restaurant, had a delicious meal, and toasted to our good and kind Savior who does all things well. We were living fully in present despite our uncertainties and trusting Him for the outcome. This was an outward expression of our inner faith.
It was exhilarating!
We remembered that evening as the days turned into months and the months turned into years. It would be 30 months before we left that season and entered into a new one of great abundance and joy. In the meantime, Jesus proved in both spectacular and quiet ways that He is ENOUGH.
Whatever situation is causing you heartache as you read this, would you consider thanking Jesus in advance for what He is going to do in your life? Take everything off the table, have no agenda of your own, open your hands and your heart, and watch Him work.
You have to go through this season anyway; why not go through it with joy and trust and a sense of anticipation? You will not regret it.
Wait and hope for and expect the Lord; be brave and of good courage and let your heart be stout and enduring. Yes, wait for, and hope for and expect the Lord. —Ps. 27:14