Look, I am about to do something new. Now it begins to happen! Do you not recognize it? Yes, I will make a road in the desert and paths in the wilderness. (Isaiah 43:19 NET)
It’s the beginning of a new year – time has flown and maybe you’re looking back at last year, at unfulfilled plans and regrets that you hadn’t been more faithful to God. But now is not the time to wallow in guilt or self-pity. God is telling us, look! I’m going to do something new, don’t you see it? Don’t you recognize it?
If there is sin that needs to be repented of, do it now. Be baptized as the New Year begins. If there is someone you need to ask forgiveness of, if you need to mend broken relationships or recommit to God, begin the process now. You don’t want to miss the new and amazing things that God is going to do for you. Waste no more time on regrets, because the changes that God is preparing for you are too wonderful for you to focus on anything else.
God wants to give you a smooth and clear path out of the wilderness where you may have been wandering. He’s not punishing you for your wandering, He’s delivering you from it — as long as you turn to Him and allow Him to lead you. But He knows very well that you can easily ignore all of His love and care for you. He’s asking you now if you recognize what He is doing, because no matter how powerful and beautiful His miracles are, each of us has the free will and the sinful nature to just shut Him out and keep wandering in circles in the desert. It’s a travesty, but that’s the story of most people’s lives. But it doesn’t have to be.
The promise is before us. It’s so worth shaking off the heaviness of guilt and regrets of the past and going for what God has planned for us now. Paul’s goal during the early church should be our daily decision for all of this new year. “Forgetting the things that are behind and reaching out for the things that are ahead, with this goal in mind, I strive toward the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14)