December 31, 2015

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; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the desert
and streams in the wasteland.”

Existing as we do in the flow of time, we tend to frame everything in the context of what we have already experienced. That’s why time seems to pass more quickly the older you get, because we experience time as compared to how long we already have lived. The thing is, God is outside of time. Since He created the physical universe He is not defined by it, and physicists will tell you that time is a function of that physical universe. Here He is telling us to be more like Him, you might say. Rather than being limited by what we have already experienced, He is telling us to open our minds and hearts to things that, as far as we have experienced, are impossible. The specific examples He gives here are a road in the trackless desert and rivers in the dry wasteland. Just yesterday I saw a satellite picture of a road in North Africa that had been completely blocked by a sand dune, illustrating the futility of man-made roads in the desert. However, the underlying point of this passage is that God provides the seemingly impossible so as to enable us to do what He has planned. The context here is the restoration of Israel after the Babylonian Captivity, which actually hadn’t happened yet, so the people were going to need roads to travel and water for their journey, and God is saying, “You’ve got them.” We face different challenges, but whatever we need to meet those challenges is no problem for God, even if it is completely outside of our previous experience. God is saying, “I’ve got it covered. Just do as I say.”

This is a message I really need to receive right now. Cathy and I were praying just last night about how we feel burned out, and how we cannot expect the church to be energetic if we aren’t. God knows what we need better than we do, and we need to trust Him for it. It is exactly as Jesus expressed so clearly in Matthew 6. There the specific issue is physical provision, but seeking first God’s kingdom and His righteousness is applicable for every other need as well. We are painfully aware of our lack of strength and ability when it comes to bringing in the harvest, which is all the more reason our focus needs to be on Christ, rather than on what we want to do for Him, much less on our own abilities. God is not limited by our past or even by our present. We need to trust Him to bring about whatever He desires in every area, yielding ourselves to Him in grateful obedience.

Father, thank You for this reminder. None of this is new information to me, but I have grown weary and dull in applying it. I ask for a fresh infusion of Your Spirit. I am reminded of a line from Star Wars: “There is no try. Just do.” Help me stop trying, and just do what You say, in Your strength for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!


About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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One Response to December 31, 2015

  1. Hey friend, I’m gonna do an article on the progress of the gospel in Japan. Your perspectives would be greatly appreciated. As someone who has been there forever, your persepective is invaluable. Can you write to my email the following answers 1) how do you view the progress of the gospel in Japan? 2) how do you as a Christian view Japan? 3) what does the church need to do to win Japan for Christ? 4) other nations — Korea, even china — have revival. Why not Japan? 5) is there any strategy that has proved effective for winning souls? 6) how long have you been there? 7) why did you move there? 8. In what city are you? 9) what is your church like?

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