New

Walter Brueggemann writes:

“The Bible is largely a reflection on how God’s Spirit makes things new.”1

On Sunday mornings when the wind chill affects my motivation to move more than the temperature, that’s what keeps me going. That is what keeps me showing up to church services where standing in a packed room makes me feel lonelier than anything else.

I believe in a God to does new things and makes things new.

“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.”  –Isaiah 43:19

I believe in a God who breathes life into the dying places and who brings dry bones back to life.

“I’ll breathe my life into you and you’ll live. Then I’ll lead you straight back to your land and you’ll realize that I am God. I’ve said it and I’ll do it.” – Ezekiel 37:14, The Message

And on days when I am tired and feel like quitting, that is what keeps me going.

This has been an interesting season in my life. I’ve been asking questions, even having doubts. Things that once fit together so easily don’t seem to fit at all. Things that were once so defined, so black and white, are now sloppy and gray.

Perhaps for some people, there is something poetic about the desert seasons and the silent seasons, but when you’re right in the middle, poetry is the last thing you want to think about. You have only been in the desert for seven days, having thirty-three more seems like forever.

And I mean—that’s how unpoetic you feel: you can’t even think of a better simile than “it feels like forever.”

What’s worse is you don’t even care. You have to-do lists, but you shrug things off because it doesn’t even feel like anything matters.

Then, one day, you wake up. The sun still rose like yesterday, and you still have to accomplish the same things. In fact, nothing at all is different. Not even a little bit. It’s a different day on the calendar, but that’s really the only change. Nothing has changed.

But maybe you’ve changed.

Just a little.

So you pull yourself out of bed. You keep showing up, and keep doing what you’ve trained yourself to do. Muscle memory takes you to the kitchen, to make coffee, to shower, to brush your teeth. It’s the same as yesterday, but today you pull yourself together a little better.

Yesterday it was fake, but today it feels just a little more real.

Because you know God makes things new. He has the power to breathe life into you.

So that becomes your prayer.

Over and over, you repeat it.

God, make me new. Breathe life into these dry bones.

God, make me new. Breathe life into these dry bones.

God, make me new. Breathe life into these dry bones.

The words leave your tongue, you hold your breath for a second, thinking instantly you’ll feel different. But you don’t. You open your eyes: nothing has changed.

But you keep praying it long enough, you keep showing up, keep being faithful, and you’ll change. You fake it until you make it. Or, you pray it until it becomes your heartbeat.

Slowly—every slowly—you are being made new.

1A New World Birthed. (Dec. 19, 2004). 

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