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Posts Tagged ‘isaiah 43’

Pay Attention

desert-streamSee, 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]
First, while visiting my friend, Mary, who has pancreatic cancer, she introduced me to a wonderful song called, “Pay Attention” by the Miserable Offenders (funny name for a group). Then last week, I went to a Chamber luncheon, I ran into our Chief of Police and her parting words to me were the same, “Pay attention.” For the Chief, the message was about danger in our midst, for my friend the message was awareness and sensitivity to the wonder of life (because life is fleeting).
Now, in this scripture passage, I hear the same message again, “do you not perceive it?” Pay attention!
You see, God is doing that “new thing” every day. All around me, there is something to see, to hear, to feel, to touch, to taste. Each day is a wonder. Each moment is a gift. Oh, I worry and kvetch without really looking, without understanding.
To trust God with my life, to surrender my will completely, then I must respond with a “yes” to every experience, both difficult and easy. Naturally, I’m speaking of circumstances that are outside of my control (that includes other people). Our children come to us in a variety of versions, some are smart and quick, others are quirky, while still others are broken. But each child is still a gift and part of my journey, part of whole. The weather, the illness, the accident, the villain, or the animal, whatever, I cannot know ahead of time their impacts on my life, but when those moments happen, can I embrace the pain and the sorrow, knowing them as part of the paradoxes of life?
And even when I do choose, when I do “control” the times and then, perhaps, suffer regret, isn’t it time to let go of those disappointments? After all, it’s done. The minutes are still passing. And the “new thing” or the “new way” is still to come, maybe like a flash flood in the desert.
It’s the fractured dreams that are often the hardest to release. Those dreams of childhood or even our early twenties, when we imagined our success and notoriety, our personal paparazzi, our brilliance. I know I focused more on the results and the fruit that could have been instead of the process, the gifts I had to give. And so I kept plowing the old field, not realizing and not noticing the field beyond, the path beside, the hanging vines.
But all that being said, I am paying attention now. Right now. In this moment, this day. I see.

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another-way“This is what the Lord says—he who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters, who drew out the chariots and horses, the army and reinforcements together, and they lay there, never to rise again, extinguished, snuffed out like a wick . . . “ [Isaiah 43:16-17.

Whether you believe or not that God actually divided the Red Sea to allow the Israelites to walk through unharmed while destroying the Egyptian army that followed after them [Exodus 14], there is a message here for all of us.

It is God who makes the way in the midst of trials or darkness. It may not be the path we want to take; it may not be the most obvious path; it may feel dangerous. But God’s way is still the best way.

Of course, we can always argue with God if we disagree with the direction. But then, there are repercussions, a chain reaction if you will, when we choose another way. And, for a season, circumstances may seem dire. It’s important to see the situation for what it is. Change cannot happen without truth.

I wish I could figure these things out while they are happening instead of in hindsight. I look back, and say, “Oh, you meant for me to go that way!” Like Homer Simpson: “Doh!”

You see, because I am so friggin’ capable, I am quick to analyze the paths ahead and I often take the one that seems best to me (not necessarily best FOR me). And as I’m going along, I suddenly get this feeling,  this overwhelming sense that I have blown it, again. It is in this moment of recognition that I must stay for a season. In order to see clearly, I must live in it (not deny it). And then, God shows up. More than likely, I will never find my way back to the original way God intended, but another way is revealed. God is full of back doors. And I am grateful.

So, I just want to encourage others: even when we blow it, God doesn’t give up on us. There is no mistake or sin that God cannot rectify or redeem. I believe this wholeheartedly. I have to. Otherwise, life would indeed overwhelm me.

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