Friday, September 30, 2011

Time Shapers

Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.  -- Isaiah 43:19 (KJV)

Human beings have a tremendous power: we can bend time; we can shape it to fit us.  Children can do it -- Parent: "Come on, it's time to go."  Child: "Give me a minute."  Adults can do it -- "Who cares if we're a few minutes late?"  

We can alter time over our entire lives.  A painful or difficult event occurs and we can forever let ourselves be defined by that event.  It's called living in victim mode.  Israel and Judah had been carried off to Babylon, their homes burned, the Temple destroyed.  For a time living in exile, they even struggled with thinking God had been wiped out when the Temple came tumbling down.  They sat by the waters of Babylon and cried for weeks over what they had lost.  Time stopped, and remained stopped.  Then the Prophets began speaking.  Isaiah in this chapter brings very uplifting words of hope and encouragement to a desolated people living in victim-mode.  God is bigger than the four Temple walls.  God stands present in the entire world.  Just because this horrible calamity happened to you doesn't mean that God isn't doing a new thing.  Open your eyes and see it, people! 

When a potter is shaping a vase it can get out of whack such that it does not fit the image the potter had in mind for it.  The potter may then smack it down and start all over.  When we are in the midst of something very difficult it is a healthy thing to try and remember the potter, and these words from Isaiah: "Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it?"  We can choose to freeze time in our tears by the waters of Babylon and use all the bad things that have happened to us as the excuse for why we aren't lifting our heads and moving forward.  We have that choice and power to live our past.  God, however, wants to remake every past moment and put us on a better track of staying with a God, who never stays still but is always leading to something magnificently better.

God of all time, it's a totally amazing and praise-worthy thing how You can take the worst and transform it to good.  Stand steady with us when we get hurt and even wiped out.  Heal us and gird our wounds such that we don't get focused on them.  Help us move forward with You - the future with You is where we belong.  Amen.

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