It is still early spring here in Ontario. The breeze has a bit of a nip. But the sun is like a warm bath washing away the lethargy of winter. A torrent of rejoicing pours from the cedars and poplars as the little birds carry on their Greatest Canadian Songbird competition. As always, their joy turns my heart heavenward. What a beautiful world! What a wonderful God!
I am planting pansies. They were my mother’s favorite flower. They won’t mind if we get a late frost and will bloom almost all summer. I hum a hymn of thanksgiving as I dig the holes and get ready to tap the little plants out of their pots.
“You’ll be so much happier to have room to grow,” I tell them. But wait. They are pot-bound; the roots have grown far out of the pot and entwined themselves around each other. Now they don’t want to turn loose of their little pots, not even for a larger, better place.
I gently dis-entangle the tender roots. “This may hurt a bit, but it will be worth it.”
As I work, I realize how often, in life, we too have to turn loose of the old, familiar ways in order to embrace the new. We cannot have both. As Jesus said, we cannot put new wine in old bottles.* We understand well that we had to give up our old life to gain new life in Christ. Most of us had to give up old friends in order to walk the Christian walk. But we need to go further.
Sometimes God allows us to be stripped of things we feel are important to us – a job, a place of influence, ministry that we love. We may need to be removed from the old place to be able to fit into a new opportunity God has for us. Can we trust Him even through the pain of separation, the agony of tearing roots, to grow us into a better place for our good and His glory?
Are we ready to give up old ways of thinking? Are we willing to even change our ways of prayer, worship, or evangelism when God calls us to try new ways? I’m not talking about compromising sound doctrine. But “the way we have always done it” usually has less to do with doctrine than it does our level of comfort.
God is the Creator. He loves spontaneity and creativity. Some people say He is all done with creating. But His Word says “Behold, I make all things new.”* In fact, the most wonderful, scariest thing is that God delights to present us with a whole NEW new thing – one we never could have come up with on our own.*
What does God want from us? We are not to seek change just for the sake of change. But neither are we to cling to the old when He wants to move us into the new. All He asks is that we be ready to follow where ever He leads, whether on a known path or an unfamiliar one.
Are you currently in pain because God is allowing you to be removed from a comfortable place? Or, is God presenting you with new ways of doing things that may look scary or strange, and you are reluctant to step out into them? Can you trust Him to carry you from the old place to the new? Can you believe that He will create something wonderful and superior to what you could have produced on your own from your position of comfort?
Father, we give You our comfort. We sacrifice ourselves to follow You on known paths and unknown ones. We trust You to lead us to the destiny You have in Your heart for us – a place greater than we could ever imagine – even if that means leaving the old behind. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
“There you go! Isn’t that better?” I pat the pansies into place and step back to take a look. What a beautiful riot of color! What a wonderful God!
Rev 21:5 (KJV)
1 Cor 2:9 (KJV) But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
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