“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?”
- Isaiah 43:18-19 NIV
Years ago, when my older son, Joseph, moved out of the house, coping with his absence alone would have been difficult enough. But around the same time, my younger son, John, graduated from high school. John was going to remain at home and attend a local college, and I was grateful for that. But his high school graduation would mark the end of my family's involvement with the Bible Club my older son started five years earlier. During those years, my life had been filled with countless club-related tasks, including driving teens home from weekly meetings, helping my sons put together Bible lessons, holding parties in my home for the kids, and organizing frequent concert trips. Once it was all over, my life began to seem empty, purposeless, and meaningless. Feelings of being unneeded and unwanted overwhelmed me, and I didn't know how to stop the downward spiral I found myself in.
During this time, I cried out to the Lord in desperation and despair. It was then that He showed me the above verses in Isaiah 43. He revealed to me that He wanted to do a "new thing" in my life, but first I had to "forget the former things" and "not dwell on the past." God's awesome new plans for me would not unfold until I stopped feeling sorry for myself, and let go of all the negative emotions associated with my profound sense of loss. I had to determine to put the past behind me, and believe that God had wonderful plans ahead for me, or I would never "perceive" the "new thing" He wanted to do in my life. It wasn't easy for me. I kept thinking about all the special times I had shared with my son over the past 20 years, as well as all the wonderful experiences I had had through my involvement with the Bible Club. There were times I doubted that I would ever recover from my sense of loss. But as I prayed and depended upon God's grace to heal me, and to help me let go of the past, the Lord began to unfold the "new thing" He had planned for me. Today, my life is filled with more purpose and meaning than I ever dreamed possible, and I shudder to think of all the blessings I would have missed out on, if I hadn't cooperated with God for my deliverance.
If you are feeling today that your life is empty, meaningless, or purposeless because of your past experiences, or a sense of loss, please know that God still has awesome plans for your life. He says: "For I know the plans I have for you--plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV) It doesn't matter how old you are, or what your background is--God is able to fill your life with new purpose and meaning. Start asking Him to do something new and wonderful in your life. Trust Him to begin revealing the "new thing" He has planned for you, as you determine to let go of what lies behind, and to reach out for what lies ahead. Remember that endings pave the way for new beginnings.
Today, be encouraged by this precious promise from God: "Arise [from the depression and prostration in which circumstances have kept you--rise to a new life]! Shine (be radiant with the glory of the Lord), for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you!" (Isaiah 60:1 AMP)
Prayer: Lord, I ask that You give me a new awareness of the awesome plans You have for my life. Help me to stop dwelling on the past, and to let go of all regret, sorrow, and bitterness. Fill my life with new purpose and meaning, and use me to make a difference in people's lives for Your glory. Thank You for a new beginning and a fresh start!
- J. M. Farro