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 desert
and streams in the wasteland. (Isaiah 43:18-19)
It is the very nature of God, it seems, to constantly be creating new life, both within us and among us; to constantly be born over and over and over again into our world and into our hearts. God just can't seem to contain himself; life is always bubbling up from him and through him. It is simply who he is. He is an endless well of goodness and delight and life.
You just never know how or where or when this new life might begin to bubble forth, so you have to stay on your toes. You have to pay careful attention to what is around you and what is within you, so that when these bubblings begin, you might be able to recognize them and join them. And when you do, you become more and more the one God intended you to be. You become the best version of yourself individually, and we become the best version of ourselves collectively. We actually become his very life bubbling forth on the earth.
The problem is that we cannot control or contrive these bubblings, no matter how hard we may try. We cannot manufacture or produce the movement of God on demand. We can't determine what it will look like or when it will take place or what it may demand of us. We cannot manipulate their direction or manage their outcomes. All we can do is watch and wait. We must simply open our hands and our hearts and receive whatever it is that God chooses to give us, in whatever way he chooses to come to us.
But this passage doesn't just stop there. It also warns us that if we do not pay attention to these bubblings, if we are so caught up in our own lives and consumed by our own plans, schemes, and agendas that we fail to see what is taking place right under our noses, there is a price to pay. If we ignore, resist, or even refuse these bubblings of God within or around us, we do so at our own expense. The life that God had planned for us is forfeited, and our souls dry up and become as barren as the desert. We become a wasteland.
So, by all means, especially this season, let us pay careful attention to what God is up to within us and around us, lest we miss it. Let us recognize his bubblings. Let us receive them, and make room for them to become all that he intended them to be. Let us say yes to the invitation he offers us and join him in whatever ways we can. Let us simply step into the flow of what he seems to be doing and allow the movement of his life and his Spirit to take us wherever he chooses.
Questions to consider: What places in your life or world do sense God doing something? Where is his life bubbling up within you or around you? How will you join into those bubblings? How will try to keep from managing, manufacturing, or manipulating the outcomes?