God is aching to work extravagantly in each of us. To bring us restoration. To do a new thing in each of us (Is 43:19).
Sometimes it is easier to stick with the old way (which has served us well!). God wants us to move on—not to dwell on the past. (Is 43:18) God wants us to perceive the new. God knows our eyesight is bad, and prods us on to look more closely. “Don’t you see it?” (Is 43:19) God’s new work is there, ready to develop in each of us.
God often calls us to the new, and He’s given us a track record that He’ll live up to His love for us.
God cares about our physical bodies. God rescued the Israelites by messing supernaturally with nature: causing waters to go up and down where they shouldn’t (Is 43:16), giving water in the wasteland (Is 43:19). God rescued the woman caught in adultery from stoning by supernaturally messing with the hearts of her accusers.
But God cares about more than just our physical bodies. God also cares for our spiritual and emotional selves. God rescued the Israelites from emptiness by reminding them of the purpose for their creation: not to be God’s scurrying staff members here on earth, nor to prove that they are holy, but to proclaim God’s praise (Is 43:21). Jesus rescued the woman caught in adultery from guilt by verbalizing his own lack of condemnation (Jn 8:11). He reminded her to leave behind her life of sin and live into God’s purpose, and to grow, empowered by scandalous grace, into her truer self. When, in our own lives, do we replace God’s call to grace with the law that requires stoning? When do we condemn or condone instead of choosing a third way: lavishing grace?
In this world with HIV, God’s passion for our well-being endures. We must imitate Christ by extending this grace to all around us.
God has done something in each our lives, as well—and identifying God’s faithfulness in the past is a crucial predecessor to gaining the courage to trust God with new things in the future. Do we see the new things God is doing in us? What practical action can we take to improve our vision?
God’s grace and longing to do new things in our worn-out selves is extravagant—and at times even seems irrational.
But Jesus specialized in extravagance: and honoured it in others, including Mary’s “waste” of a bottle of perfume worth the value a year’s worth of meals, house repairs, and other basic needs (Jn 12:7). Judas Iscariot used the practical and rational to argue against this fragrant waste. When do we similarly use rational arguments to shield ourselves against God’s dream for us—God’s “new thing”?
Paul, specialist in legalism from birth, considered his accomplishments as worthless after his conversion (Ph 3:8). He describes them as garbage! But in this recognition, he is able to participate in the extravagant righteousness of Christ.
What perfectly good and God-given things in our own lives are no longer compatible with the new things to which God is calling us?
To think about: What influences in your life keep you from embracing the new things, the fragrant things, the FREE things?