I want to be here today.
A blank computer screen and “yet to be realized” words cannot keep me from this discipline … this penciling of ideas until they fill and gather to become a completed work. It would be easy to skip the moment; to walk away from the “emptiness” and fill my time with another activity. But even then, I’m not sure what that “filler” would be; how it would go; if it would matter. There’s nothing pressing on my agenda this evening.
Just moments—time given to me from God as an investment toward something.
How and where I choose to invest them is a decision worth contemplating, but even then, too much contemplation results in very little being accomplished. I’ve logged a lot of hours into my contemplations only to arrive at the end of some of them with little to show for my measured moments of deliberation. I don’t want this to be one of those times. Instead, I want to ponder alongside of you; think and consider some of God’s words with some of God’s people who best understand this God who measures all of our moments and considers each one of them as worthy and precious in his sight.
And in this current moment that belongs to me (and to you if you’re reading this), my thoughts are drawn back to an important biblical truth spoken through the prophet Isaiah to an obstinate people. A chosen people who had yet to realize the depth and meaning behind his words as they were spoken in real time. Approximately one hundred and twenty years would pass before this obstinate people would recall the divine wisdom and strength behind Isaiah’s prophetic voice.
At that time, they would need his words as they languished in exile in a foreign land. Words that reminded them about the “new things” God had promised back then in a season when their sin wasn’t looking for anything “new” but only for more room to grow and flourish.
When life walks without the immediate and visible consequences of sin, sin can sometimes seem reasonable. It did for God’s children, and after ample warning regarding their blatant disregard for God and his ways, their sin landed them in an unknown country with some unfamiliar gods and an understanding that forced them to grapple with their “what’s next?” and “how did we get ourselves into this mess?”.
God graciously unwrapped their confusion with the truth of his Word … his many words as spoken over a century earlier through his prophet Isaiah; the Israelites didn’t pay much attention to his words then, but I imagine that they clung to them in their current state of desperation:
“‘See the former things have taken place and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you.’”
Who couldn’t use a little bit of God’s “new” in the midst of a formidable exile? A promise laced with a divine truth that declares a future before the future arrives? That there is coming a return from exile and a replanting in the land of Promise that has been designed and orchestrated by God and spoken by him in the annals of time long before their appearance on the road ahead?
What encouragement could we glean from knowing that no matter how our lives breathe in this current moment, there is a good word from a good God spoken on behalf of a good future we’ve yet to realize? That for all of the former things that have taken place in our history, God has written his “new” into our tomorrows—into the “next” moments that happen beyond this one. That there is something he has declared beyond the visioning of our eyes and the hearing of his voice that, once unfolded, will speak the witness of his majesty and his incomparable love for a people who deserve far less.
God’s Word is full of such announcements to his people:
Beautiful proclamations contained and spilled forth within the pages of holy writ. Declarations made public by the heart of God via the pen of a few obedient saints who believed beyond the “reasonable and the seen” in order to scribe the voice of the unseen One whose reason extends beyond the logical to include the likes of you and me.
God prescribes his “new” for us—the usual suspects who’ve grown quite accustomed to the cloaking of an “old” way of doing life with him. Could it be that we’ve become a bit “crusty” in our approach to living out this “thing” we call our lives? Are you already imagining that tomorrow will unfold in similar stride to your today … your yesterday? Is there any measure of faith within your heart to believe God for more? To take him at his Word and to trust him regarding the declarations he has already made on your behalf and for his glory?
Is your belief in God couched in the reasonable, or is there a flicker of something more … a stronger inclination in your heart that leads you to believe in the unreasonable, unexplainable yet fully attainable mandates laid out for you in Scripture?
Our God can be trusted with our contemplations along these lines. For everything we believe to be true about our lives and their unfolding, there is more to the story. With God, there is always more to the story. There are things and moments he has imagined on our behalf that exceed understanding. To live with less, to settle for a life that simply “walks it out” in isolation rather than walking it out with God, is to forsake the inheritance that comes to us as children of the King.
I want to live better this week; to give God my moments and to allow him to write them with the truth of my sacred birthright. I don’t want to live as a pauper begging for scraps. I want to dine at the table of rich meats and finest linen and look into my Father’s eyes knowing that this banquet was prepared as a declaration from his heart, long before it ever came into being.
Two thousand years ago on an Easter morning in Jerusalem, Christ’s invitation for “more” sprang into being. It began with a cross; it ended with a resurrection. And it continues this day as a living witness to God’s very good and glorious declaration that we were meant for more than our current understanding of less. God’s story was written with us in mind.
Even now it springs into being. Perceive it; believe it, and then receive it as you sit with your Father this week in holy contemplation. There are some “blank screens” and some moments waiting to be written by his hand and with his truth. As always…
PS: I’d like to hear from you … what “new” and “more” do you need to believe God for this week? God has already “announced” some good things in advance on your behalf. Spend time in his Word researching those things, writing them down, and carrying them close to your heart as you walk your inheritance in faith. We journey together, friends, and these few moments before the screen tonight are my way of investing in your lives for God’s kingdom good. I love you each one. Shalom.