The new thing.
I remember another mother giving advice about how to manage the day-to-day circus of restless kids. She advised that when children become restless, it’s helpful to change rooms in the house. Something so practical became a profound staple in my parenting toolbox.
I wonder if we’re feeling restless as we enter Christmas. We don’t want to settle down because we don’t want to feel sad. We don’t want to speed up because moving on feels intolerable. We ache for what was, and we want to catapult ourselves into years gone by. What do we do with this competing angst? No wonder our faith feels stale.
I know you’ve always done things a certain way. And your consistency is truly a strength. But you don’t have to accept staleness in grief. God is an enjoyable God, and He will teach you how to enjoy Him, even here.
God made us physical creatures, and we ought to engage Him in active ways. Circumstances will shout that your faith is dead because what you’ve always done isn’t working. But Scripture is clear that God is working even when our faith feels like it’s not. God may not end the desert today, but He makes streams smack dab in the middle of it. Keep your eyes open for His working hand.
Perhaps God will turn your pain to make room for something new. Maybe that means becoming less rigid in your faith. Maybe that means letting go of your faith checklist that is not rooted in Spirit and Truth. Maybe that means being less legalistic. Maybe that means starting a new devotional through the holidays. Maybe we’re restless children that need a change of position. Maybe we need to get facedown on the floor as we cry out. Maybe we need to take a walk with God outside. Maybe we need to go for a drive and pour our tears out to God. Maybe instead of reading your Bible today, you need to engage your ears by listening to an audio version of it. Maybe apathy will teach us our faith is less about doing and more about worshipping. Our heart matters more than our hands. To the extent suffering reveals this, it’s not to be despised.
“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: ‘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 wasteland. The wild animals honor me, the jackals and the owls, because I provide water in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland, to give drink to my people, my chosen, the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise.”’
Isaiah 43:16-21 (NIV).
Prayer. Lord, You are good; teach me to enjoy You.
Application. Today, I will spend time with God in a new way.