“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert” (Isaiah 43:18–19, ESV).
So much time is wasted by looking back.
In the world around us, voices for personal growth and well-being are almost unanimous, calling us to dig up our past so we can do better in the future. But God’s Word through Isaiah is clear: “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old.” Apart from the lessons we’ve learned, there is nothing to gain by staring in the rearview mirror.
“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?” God wants us on His newness program! This shouldn’t come as a surprise; the Creator of the universe is constantly in creation mode. And His resurrection power can change every circumstance He touches.
Can you perceive the “new thing” God is doing in your life? Are you discerning the opportunities and open doors that “spring forth” from His hand? Sadly, not everyone who follows Christ has eyes to see His newness. If you’re busy looking over your shoulder in regret or fixating on If only, you’ll be blindsided by a new thing—or miss it altogether.
We have all made choices we’d like to change. But no amount of remorse can rewind that clock. It’s far better to repent where we haven’t and lay hold of God’s new things.The apostle Paul got this. Look at how he handled his past: “One thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal”(Philippians 3:13–14a). Paul knew that if he was going to lay hold of the purpose for which Christ laid hold of him, he was going to have to forget some things.
God wants you to do the same. He is faithfully working all things together for good. Everything that’s happened in your life—every forward step and backward stumble—is being used by God to form His Son in you and prepare you for what He wants to do right now (Romans 8:28–29).
Perhaps there is a pattern of sin in your life or an addiction you’re battling. Maybe you’re trapped in fearful anxiety or a relational heartbreak that can’t seem to get to a better place. Stare too long and you may feel like it’s hopeless. There’s no way out of this, God. My life isn’t what I thought it would be . . . and I’ve only made it worse with my choices. I’m too far gone for a “new thing.”
Listen, your situation is no surprise to the One who made you. God is patient with you. He’s not keeping tabs on how many times you mess up a relationship or fall into a particular sin. Whoa, that’s six times she’s done that. One more slip-up and I’m through with her. He knows everything about you. He is acutely aware of how you are stuck and your utter inability to pull yourself out.
Check this: “I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” God is basically saying, “No wilderness is a match for Me—I make rivers in the most impossible places. I will lift you out of that mire and pour new life into your parched spirit. Trust Me.”
God will make a way where there is no way. He can transform a lifeless desert into life-giving opportunity. We serve a living Savior—and everything He touches is new.
The same power that raised Jesus from the dead can work His newness in your circumstances. Bring that dry, difficult, despair-inducing place to the Lord. Invite Him to make a way in your wilderness with His living newness—and don’t look back.
This post originally appeared on Dr. James MacDonald’s daily devotional Our Journey and was republished with permission.
James MacDonald (D. Min. Phoenix Seminary) is the founding senior pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel, leads the church-planting ministry of Harvest Bible Fellowship, teaches the practical application of God’s Word on the Walk in the Word radio and television programs, and is a gifted author and speaker. You can find out more about James and his ministries at WalkintheWord.org.