I remember sitting on my bed months ago being so frustrated with God. I was upset because I had all of these awesome things in front of me but He was telling me to hold off and not doing anything. I also had a lot of bad things going on and He wouldn’t take them away.
I could not get my head around what God was trying to do.
Why would He tell me to not go for the good things and people in front of me and not get me out of the mess of heartbreak, anxiety and depression?
I was digging into scripture that morning, but the thing is, is that I’m never sure where to start in the Bible. But I’d never read the book of Isaiah, so I decided to give it a shot. I randomly flipped to a chapter and landed on Isaiah 43:18-19.
“ Forget the former things, do not dwell on the past. See I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; so you not perceive it? I am making a path in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland”.
I definitely felt like I was in the wasteland. I felt like I was in the middle of the woods and it was messy, unkempt and I did not know how to get out because there was no visible path that would lead me anywhere.
And God was talking to me in that place and still is, but it wasn’t as clear as I would have liked.
Here’s an example of my prayer life for the last 6 months.
Me: God, what am I even supposed to do?
God: go back to where it all started.
Me: God, what about this thing?
God: Hold on
Me: God I’m just not sure
God: I’ll handle it.
Me: God, I’m kind of lonely.
God: just look up.
Me: this doesn’t make sense
God: all those answers will come
Me: God, this guy is kind of cute, what about him?
God: hold on
Me: But G-
God: I love you
I couldn’t understand why God wasn’t answering me as clearly as He used to. I couldn’t understand why He would surround me with good things then ask me to wait or why He would allow me to go through bad things.
I couldn’t understand what making a path in the wilderness was supposed to look like.
So as usual, I tried to find some type of imagery or metaphor that would help me understand.
I don’t know if this is just a southern thing, but here, we do this thing where burn down huge chunks of land or a forest so that one day, more things can grow there.
It makes no sense, but it works.
It all started to click as I thought of a forest going up in flames ( that are controlled by the way).
Sometimes in life, God has to set our own personal forest on fire and it’s miserable. It’s miserable seeing things you once loved be burned down and turned into ashes.
And then the after math seems even worse. You have to go on and pick up all the debris you can and try to clear out the mess. Then you have to throw everything out and wait for the soil to become fertile again so the planting process can begin.
Then once you go over everything and have all these things burned down, cleaned up and re-planted, you just have to wait for something beautiful to happen.
You cant pluck the seeds out of the ground because you know they will be beautiful one day. You have to let them take their course and bloom on their own time.
You can’t begin to till the soil until the old soil is gone and something new is ready.
You can’t just sit in the fields every day expecting to see some huge, gorgeous forest pop up right after everything got torn down. It takes time. It takes patience. It takes wisdom to understand that once the old is gone, however long it had been rooted there, it will take a while for the new, beautiful things to get there.
That’s what this whole verse is about, I think. It’s about burning down the old, walking through the rubble, cherishing what used to be there, but understanding something beautiful is about to happen.
When we are the midst of the forest, whatever that looks like for us, God is burning down the things that block our path to Him. He’s literally setting everything on fire to give us a way out of the sin and darkness and it’s scary and the aftermath is ugly. Then we have to get on our hands and knees and clear out the debris and that’s painful. Then God plants new things and sometimes renews the old and tells us how beautiful they will be, but we have to wait for them to grow.
But by the end of it, after the fires have gone out, and the soil is fresh and fertile and the new things begin to bloom, we are filled with life, joy and blessings so abundant and beautiful, we don’t even regret burning everything else to the ground.
Maybe for you, it’s about getting over a heartbreak. Maybe it’s about dealing with family issues. Maybe it’s about mental illness. Maybe it’s about being the only single friend in your group and no one seems to be pursuing you. Maybe it’s about sexual shame. Maybe it’s about poor body image and low self esteem. Maybe it’s about your plans after college. Maybe it’s about developing faith and patience.
Whatever it is, no matter how hard, just know that the Lord is working hard to make a path for you and me and it’s going to get ugly and a lot of things are going to have to go. But once all the debris is gone and the new things begin to spring up, we can be reassured that a new, better season of life is coming and we will now have a direct path to the Lord that can no longer be blocked by the old things. We know now that we can run through the wild, as free as ever and directly into the arms of our sweet, sweet Father.
All we have to do is hand over the matches.
All my love,
Extravagant- Stefany Gretzinger
Pieces- Amanda Cook
Hidden- United Pursuit
Psalm 46- Shane and Shane