2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (NLT)
That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.
What a difference a day makes. When the new day arrives, the old seems so small…most of the time. It’s when we get stuck in a series of days or season that never ends that we forget the “new things” God is doing because we are just trying to get through this time…this hurt…this season. It is fall…no I am not jumping around but fall is a relevant time in the series of seasons. The window is open and the leaves are falling like rain. Fall is when we harvest. Leading into winter when the barren land dies to rejuvenate when spring comes around and rolls into summer. The problem is that we don’t see seasons of life as they link together to form productivity and cultivate certain things in our life but too often focus on the things of each one that are difficult. Each leave falling represents a place for a new one to grow from a bud, to a blossom into fruit. But rather than focusing on this chain of events, we become focused on planting in the spring, enduring the heat of the summer, raking the leaves in fall and shoveling snow through the winter. Right now with pumpkin latte, pumpkin bread and just about every other pumpkin thing mankind can market, we are focused on winter. Excited about the change in seasons, boots, sweaters, bonfires and Christmas… until it gets here and then we want beaches, flip flops, vacation and sunshine because we are overwhelmed by the holiday stress, being stuck in the house and mounds of laundry produced by layers of clothing. The key to living a full life in Christ is becoming focused on the new thing that He is doing in us rather than the circumstances and consequences of change around us.
To create something new, something must die. To become a new creation, it means that we must die to our old life stepping into that “new thing” that the Lord is doing. This is not as easy as one might think considering people like to be comfortable. We want change but do not embrace it. We must never give up on what the Lord has promised us or the process by which He changes us. To become committed to enduring such change, we must be aware of the season we are in and the fruit it is producing. I am just as guilty as everyone else who asks for more and cries out in the overflow. His Ways are not like ours. They are so much higher as God sees things from His Perspective which is not daily but forever. I remember when my babies were small and still nursing. There were certain times like when driving the car or maneuvering through the grocery store when they might have to wait a few extra minutes to be fed. Now I knew how long it had been since their last feeding and how long it would take me to finish each task, but to my children a mere 15 minutes was forever and they would wail as if starving to death. And so it is with the Lord who knows exactly down to the minute how long this process will take. We scream and cry for release but He is focused on completion. He knows just how long it will take and gives us the grace to make it through even though we might think it is killing us. It is. It is burning up our flesh to make room for our faith. It is increasing our endurance which will produce strength of character. God uses every season of life to produce something in those who choose to surrender each season to Him and embrace the change that He is evoking in our life.
Yesterday they surgically removed the port from our son. What a glorious day! It is finished. The Lord true to His Word has healed and delivered our precious son from cancer. Physically – he looks amazing. You couldn’t wipe the smile off of his face. He is embracing the life of a college student once again. He is alive, well and prospering after four years of pain, suffering and physical attacks. It is a new season for all of us as we turn from the past and look to the future. The doctor asked if we would like to keep the port, I said, “No, I think we got our money’s worth!” with a laugh. Our son said, “No, I don’t need it anymore!” Out with the old. But then the doctor said, “You know 95% of our patients want to keep it.” What? Why? Who wants to remember all the pain and suffering? A lot of people live in the past every single day and it impacts their future negatively. I was very close to doing the very same thing.
2 Timothy 1:5-7 (NLT)
I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother, Eunice. And I know that same faith continues strong in you. This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.
My usual routine in returning from Gainesville is to collapse on the couch. It is exhausting for some reason to spend the day at the hospital and then travel two hours home even though you essentially do nothing more than sit around waiting most of the time. However, my kids had a youth night at church that I promised if I made it home in time that I would take them. God always has jokes. I arrived home just in time to switch cars and head to the church. It was worship night. It seemed appropriate to worship God especially on this night. We made it. Praise God we made it to the finish line. It was not a triumphant arrival but a quiet approach. There were no crowds cheering just a family who endured and overcame somehow managing to survive a horrible ordeal even prospering in it. The enemy tried to take our son but instead God gave us another one in our son-in-law. We have not suffered in the midst of this other than in our hearts and minds when all around us the Lord has provided everything we need and then some. We even made new friends along the way. God is so good!
Anyway, in the midst of the amazing Presence of God last night, the praise team began to sing the song, “I Won’t Go Back” by William Mcdowell. The chorus goes like this: “So we say… I won’t go back, can’t go back, to the way it used to be… before your presence came and changed me… say I won’t… I won’t go back… I can’t go back, to the way it used to be… before your presence came and changed me!” That’s when it hit me. In this season, I have been changed for the better. The enemy wants me to focus on the hardship endured rather than the change that has been produced in us. He wants me to live in those moments and times of devastation like the one when we thought our son was clear only to find out less than 24 hours that he had relapsed worse than ever before. The doctors were scared. Fear hit me so hard I fell to my knees. See I had let my guard down and dared to rejoice in his healing and the enemy caught me unaware. I literally fell to my knees when the doctor told me which I had never done before. I couldn’t breathe as if fear had thrown a blanket over me and was slowly suffocating me. That must have been the moment that I decided not to thrive but survive. I realized in worship that I have been a slave to the spirit of fear for a very long time. Out with the old. Fear wants to remind us the difficult of the past to prepare for the future. The Lord is doing a new thing in each new season. Fear is not welcome there. We must get rid of the fear that wants to linger from our past to fully embrace the Love of God that changes moment by moment, day by day and season by season.
2 Corinthians 5:13-17 (NLT)
If it seems we are crazy, it is to bring glory to God. And if we are in our right minds, it is for your benefit. Either way, Christ’s love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life. He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them. So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
Before you discredit this word as not for you because you or your child or your family has not gone through a life or death situation, this applies to every man and woman who is born again. If you have lived to the age of accountability, I am quite certain you have experienced seasons of life and indeed have a past of some sort. Whether or not you inflicted the pain in your life or it was at the hands of another, doesn’t really matter? The Lord wants to heal your mind, soul and body today. He wants to cut away the old scar tissue that binds your heart from receiving more of His Love to create a soft, pliable heart that is ready to be filled to overflowing. You cannot compare your life to others. You cannot decide that God’s Love is not for you based on how you live or what you are doing. God requires one thing from us. All of us just as we are. We cannot do a single thing to make our relationship with God right again, Jesus did it all. We can only accept the precious gift we have been given. It is a brand new life. It is not something that happens overnight but through season. If we will learn to release the past and fear associated with it to fully embrace the changes that God is making in us and through us, we will become the new creation that He promised we could be… in Christ alone. We make the decision to leave the past behind. God will not rip anything from our hands but simply offers us something better. Our trials and hardship can have meaning and purpose when we keep our hearts and minds focused on Jesus holding tight to the hope we have in Him, remembering His Promises and living by faith alone. Fear has no place in you today. His Perfect Love is driving it out. So out with the old and welcome your new life in Him again and again with each new season!
Isaiah 43:18-19 (NLT)
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.