The Thrill of Hope: Beauty from the Ashes

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 wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

ISAIAH 43:18-19

I remember when January of 2020 hit, and lots of God-fearing people began talking about newness and the move of God that was about to take place. I was ready: ready to experience God’s presence like never before, to watch countless people get saved, and to see the Creator work His miracles.

Soon after, I watched as everything exploded. I watched the riots form on the streets. I watched a virus spread throughout the globe, accompanied by gut-wrenching fear and isolation. I watched my little sister go home to Heaven, way too young. I sat there, my heart completely shattered, losing someone so close to me whom I loved so much, walking the painful and desolate road of grief in the midst of the complete shaking up of our world.

My soul was in despair. I looked at the shattered pieces around me and truly believed my life was over. I had no hope and couldn’t see a future. There was no light in my landscape. That’s when I cried out to God like never before. And, in the tears and the anguish, He answered me.

He told me He was doing something new, and that even though it looked like there was no way out, and though I could not see anything, He was already making a way for me. I realized that if I wanted out of such a hellish reality, I couldn’t get there on my own. I realized that clinging every single second to Jesus, and trusting His Word over my surface-level reality, were going to be the only things carving out a road of redemption for me.


Much like my story, the Israelites were once in a place of complete sorrow. Between the captivity of Babylon and their home, Israel, laid miles of wilderness with wild animals and treacherous landscapes. Some of you have had a wilderness like this, and this Word of the Lord offers hope for the heartache and brokenness that come with sorrow. Through God, there is no story too broken or too painful to be redeemed. There is no pit He cannot reach, as “Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save” (Isaiah 59:1). God is always ready to lead His children into new landscapes, and His heart is for us to look up and perceive what He is doing now. Sometimes, holding onto the past prevents us from doing that. Letting go of the old allows us to step into the new things God has for us. We don’t want to be so focused on the past that we miss what God is wanting to do in the present.

We need to humbly seek and ask God His plans for us in the now. I guarantee He has specific things He wants us to see, and specific things He wants to do. Are there ways we are limiting His power by holding on to things of the past? Are there things in our lives that we believe are too broken to be redeemed by God?

God didn’t leave me in the pit of despair. I learned His strength was what would pull me out and bring me through the valley. I just needed to listen closely to His voice and stay close to His heart. He healed my heart as I laid my tears at His feet, and I found that where He was leading me was nothing like where I came from: it is actually much more beautiful and redeeming than I could have ever imagined.

PRAYER

Lord, please help us be a people who can remember the ways in which You have worked, but not hold too strongly to the former things of pain and destruction. Help us surrender our lives and hearts to You, and give us eyes to see the new thing You are doing. Thank You that You are a God who makes a path in the wilderness, and rivers in the wasteland. Thank You for promising to do this in my life, as I trust and submit to Your will. Amen!

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