“But forget all that- it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.” (Isaiah 43:18-19)
Routine. Sometimes it seems like life’s goal. When you bring a baby home one of the first questions people ask is “Is your baby in a routine yet?” We have this idea that somewhere just beyond our grasp is the perfect rhythm to life. If we can just hang on long enough, we’ll arrive and hit the perfect routine and the world will go ‘round at the perfect pace and nothing will upset our apple cart anymore.
I was pondering this concept in my devotion time the other day. I did a quick glance in the Bible to see if I could find the word routine. While my search was not exhaustive by any stretch, the only thing close to routine I found was customary practices of the day or those rituals commanded by God in the Old Testament. What I did find was time after time that God interrupts routines. Mary was going about life then the angel showed up. Gideon was hiding in a wine press threshing wheat and the angel of the Lord showed up. Moses was tending sheep when the angel of the Lord showed up. The Lord spoke to Jonah and had an assignment for him, a different direction he was to go, but Jonah ran the other way. Page after page of the Bible is filled with God interrupting the routines of life and setting people on a new course.
Many times in both our personal life and our ministry life we have seen circumstances that seem to fall apart. But if you wait long enough you see that God had a better plan. How many times has it been said, “things were going great and then (insert bad situation here) happened”? Could it be that God sometimes has to move us out of our routine to respond to him? When things were going great, did we depend on him or ourselves?
At the time period of the scripture above, the children of Israel were in a desolate time. They were in captivity, had lost everything that was dear to them, and were homesick. They could look back and see how God had moved when things were in a routine and going good. Why couldn’t we just go back to the way things were when we were content and happy? They couldn’t see a way out of the circumstance they now found themselves in.
I find myself acting like the Israelites more often then I wish to admit. Instead of focusing on God and saying ok Lord, you’ve gotten us through time and time again, we trust you now, their focus was on what had been back when life was routine and normal. Then God says (Amanda’s paraphrase) “Wake up people! Yes, I moved back then, but I have new things for you. I’ve already started to prepare the way, will you come with me?” God had set into motion the things that would lead them out of captivity and into blessing, but they had to decide if they wanted to trust him and to go with him.
If you follow the Israelite history, you don’t have to look far to see a God who was always messing up their routines. Sometimes they responded and willing went. Sometimes they just flat pouted like toddlers.
What about you? How do you respond when it looks as though God has thrown you a curve ball? I don’t think that the perfect routine exists this side of heaven. This earthly life is just an adventure with Jesus. The more you roll with it and open yourself up to be flexible the better it will go for you. Otherwise, you might just wind up pouting like the Israelites and longing for the very things you’ve been set free from.
Father, I pray that you would give us receptive hearts towards your leading and guiding. Help us to recognize when you want us to move and go a new direction. Help us to have a gracious attitude and willing spirit to your new things even when our old things seem better. We want to serve you Jesus. Amen.