The usual prophetic word for 2017? Not close…rather a challenge to get you thinking.
So here we are, a few days into 2017 and I yet to give or receive a new and fresh New Year’s “wish”. It’s pretty much same old all round…the same people using the same words, sending the same predictable text messages and quoting the same scriptures as last year. I knew who would be in first, sending New Year’s greetings on New Year’s Eve. I knew who would be sending a long, carefully worded message pirated from somewhere else, who would be filling the gaps with endless emoticons, who would be days late (me, usually) because they were too distracted to bother earlier.
Yet we hear endless quotes, “prophesies” even, of the Lord doing a NEW THING, while we are shaking in our boots at the thought of having to spend time with the latest arrivals at church. “Woohoo, new people, I can’t wait for the service to end so I can go over there and get to know them!” says no-one ever (unless you’re on the welcoming team and it’s your job). We’d rather huddle in our familiar groups, catch up on the news we missed out on since we huddled last Sunday.
So many of us are feeling stuck, dry, bored, blasé, desperately hoping someone will be brave enough to do something new so that we can ride their coat tails until new feels familiar and comfortable and we run no risk of being challenged to lock the gate to our comfort zone and throw away the key. I admit, I am a creature of habit as much as the next person. I sit in the same seat at church, I have a few people I enjoy talking to, I have favourite scriptures I go back to, and at my age clothes and shoes are selected for comfort, rather than for making a fashion statement. Social media and my email inbox have both become instruments of torture…filled with post and advertisements for gyms, diet products, exercise clothes and the rest…exactly the same as last year, and the years before. Thankfully there’s a “hide ad” and delete button that has yet to wear out (I am working on it though).
If we are honest with ourselves, we must admit that much of what we do is “same old” in a different way. Albert Einstein is credited with a definition of insanity being doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. If that be true, we are all raving lunatics. Last year we worked through John Bevere’s curriculum “Good or God” and I was truly impacted by the fact that I am guilty of doing many good, even godly things, without an unquestionable word from God. I am also reminded that Satan disguises himself as an angel of light…he will more often distract and derail us with what seems good, godly and the right “Christian” thing to do, by presenting opportunities that seemingly comes from God, but has no other purpose than to distract us from doing the perfect will of the Father. Doing good and godly things, when not mandated by the Lord, is still missing the mark, still disobedience – sin for us who know better.
I cannot speak for you, but I know why I do this thing. Like Sarah, I am impatient and I hate to wait. I feel so much more comfortable when I am doing something, anything, as long as I am not doing nothing. I will even continue to do what did not work before, hoping that this time it will produce some fruit…that’s my comfort zone…being busy, doing something, so that no-one can accuse me of being lazy, not pulling my weight, giving up, being a quitter. Even if it’s not working for me, I will not give up because I keep on hoping that this time will be different. Yeah right!
In Psalm 27 David encourages us to “Wait patiently for the LORD. Be brave and courageous; Yes, wait patiently for the LORD” (v14 NLT). In Psalm 25:3 he reminds us that indeed, none who waits on the Lord will be ashamed. Last year I discovered a new kind of courage, bravery that looked like doing nothing, when I learned that sometimes it takes more courage to keep on living than it does to take your own life, that you need incredibly bravery to wait on the Lord’s rescue, rather than trying to medicate away your pain by sticking a needle in a vein, taking a drink or popping a pill. I learned that sometimes waiting is the most godly, obedient act of all. I also learned that “new” is something that DID NOT EXIST BEFORE, something that is FOR THE FIRST TIME. If is was before, then it’s not new and waiting for it is brutal, because it goes against everything we are.
I would love to share some scriptures to encourage your souls, and mine, as we set our hearts to waiting on the Lord, as uncomfortable as it may be, and to be bold and brave as we embrace the NEW of God, in whatever form it comes. May we have the courage to let go of what lies behind, be it treasured relationships, possessions, mindsets, ministries or geographic locations. May we be strong enough to do nothing until we hear His voice command us to GO and then may we be brave and fearless and go where no man has gone before! (Sorry, I could not resist)
But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] Will gain new strength and renew their power; They will lift up their wings [and rise up close to God] like eagles [rising toward the sun]; They will run and not become weary, They will walk and not grow tired. (Is. 40:31 AMP)
The Lord is good to those who wait [confidently] for Him, To those who seek Him [on the authority of God’s word]. (Lam. 3:25 AMP)
But as for me, I will look expectantly for the Lord and with confidence in Him I will keep watch;
I will wait [with confident expectation] for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me. (Micah 7:7 AMP)
So how will all the waiting end, you may wonder. The prophet Isaiah recorded the answer for us in Chapter 25, verse 9:
And it will be said in that day, “Behold, this is our God for whom we have waited that He might save us. This is the LORD for whom we have waited; Let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation.”