The Old Ways

Old WayThe other day I was playing a computer game and was getting frustrated because I couldn’t beat a certain level. I closed out of the game and came back an hour later only to realize that I had already beaten that level the day before. I was fighting a battle I had already won. How often do we do the same in our spiritual lives?

In recent months I have felt God calling me to change careers. While I have been teaching English for almost 20 years, I have always wanted to be a full-time writer. I have struggled with writing on the side, but there was never enough time to really devote to it. I taught part-time, so I often had 2 or 3 jobs, which made it even harder to focus. When the current school I was working for closed its doors abruptly, I kept hearing the following verse:

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).

Music Notes

 

 

God is Doing a New Thing by Lara Martin

 

 

I have started down this path before, but I always ended up back with several part-time jobs with the best of intentions to write on the side without any success. It was time to try something new. New is often scary. There are times when God wants to move us into a new season of life. Sometimes it is through the loss of a job, but it could also be through a change in health or the loss of a loved one. We were comfortable in the old way, not necessarily because we were happy, but because it was familiar. God doesn’t call us to be comfortable. He calls us to be obedient. Sometimes He uses a change in circumstances to shake us out of complacency so that He can move us to where He needs us to be.

Once we begin to move, there will always be a temptation to go back to the old ways, to the familiar, but the old ways will never be as comfortable as they once were. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians  5:17). The new man will never be satisfied with the old ways.

So, let’s follow Paul’s advice: “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).

 

 

Random Patterns

Part of the fun of a mystery knit along or even a mystery novel is watching seemingly random facts fuse together to become a completed pattern. It’s fun seeing the parts come together and trying to guess what it will become. I especially like the pictures in puzzle magazines that look like a jigsaw puzzle with random pieces marked with dots. For those pieces, you color them in with ink and eventually a picture emerges.

What is not fun is when random events happen in your life and you cannot see the pattern. Where is God in the midst of aggravations, illnesses, losses and frustrations? Why is this happening? What purpose could their possibly be?

When I play Slingo, an electronic form of Bingo, I try to have a plan of attack to reach the goal of that particular board. I follow a pattern. One level I had played over and over again with no success, and I was getting frustrated. The last time I played it there was no way to follow a pattern the way the game was going, and I had already come to the conclusion that I was not going to win this round either. However, out of the seemingly random moves, I completed the round. It was all by chance…or was it?

In life God sometimes uses a series of seemingly random events to get us to a particular place at a particular time in order to be of use to Him. The Bible says, “Who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14). We must trust that God has a plan for these moments and pray to be of use in these moments. Maybe the problems you are struggling with were meant to bring you to “such a time as this”. What seems random to us is just another piece of the puzzle to God…a piece He is putting into place so that the bigger picture can be revealed.