Thursday, April 16, 2015

Welcome to Today

Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before.
Joshua 3:4
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”  
Isaiah 30:21 

Welcome to Today.

There has never been a day just like today, and there never will be again. You will never again be this young; you will never again be this old. Your children will only be this little for today. Today has the same promise as the day you run a marathon, or the day that you sit on the floor and play with blocks. Today has the same value whether you do a load of dishes, perform surgery, or invent an Everlasting Gobstopper.

You've never had today before.

Lamentations 3 refers to the Lord's mercies being new every morning. I think in our finite minds we think of a blank slate. Every morning, God wipes away the old and starts over. In reality, the mercies are New. They're New. He didn't throw a load of mercies in the wash so we could reuse them. They're New. Never used before, and will never be used again. They're new for the day that is new.

Because we've never done this day before.

Although, let's be honest... It feels like it most days. Up, diapers, breakfast, dishes, play, diapers, naptime, diapers, clean, lunch, dishes, diapers, clean, play, diapers, naptime, diapers, dinner, bathtime, storytime, bedtime, dishes, TV, bedtime... maybe that's just my day. Maybe you have a full-time job and your routine looks completely different than mine. The point is, that we all have a routine. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't.

In Joshua 3, God is finally leading the Israelites into the Promised Land they were supposed to have conquered 40 years ago. Thanks to their whining and complaining, they literally walked in circles for 40 years. Did God protect them? Absolutely, They had a giant cloud during the day, a pillar of fire at night. They ate manna - from heaven - daily. They ate quail - daily. Their clothes and shoes never wore out. They literally ate miracles for breakfast in the morning, and still found time to bitch and moan. But God saw to it that every need was provided for. He had to. They were only allowed to have provision one day at a time.

They were only allowed to take the manna that they could eat that day. If they had too much, it would breed worms and stink. (Exodus 16) They would have it again the next day. I don't know about you, but that would drive me crazy. I guess after the first decade, you'd get used to it, but I'm a planner. For them to have nothing, every morning, and rely on God's faithfulness again and again and again... Even when He obviously showed up, seems like an exhausting prospect.

Annnnndddd, queue this last year and a half... It seems like we've been doing the exact same thing. Every time I think I have our finances squared away, something happens. Every time I think we'll be able to do XYZ, something happens. Over and over and over again, I've seen the hand of God provide for my family. And yet, every morning when I experience His goodness, I'm exhausted at the same time. For I know the rest of the story.

But it was  is time for something different.

The wilderness was far from God's best. God had a land waiting for them that would take them from daily miracles of provision to the full-capacity of abundance. No longer picking manna from the dusty ground, but growing your own enormous garden that could feed your family more than they could ever hope to eat. That land was about 2 weeks' walk from Egypt. It was their mindset (and their mouths) that kept them stuck where they were.

They had to change what they were doing. They had to go a different way. In this case, quite literally, they walked a different direction. God sent the priests with the Ark a huge distance in front of them, so that a population of 6 million (give or take) could see what to do. God showed up in ways that this new generation had never seen before (remember: the generation that saw the Red Sea part was dead now) He showed up at Jericho in a new way. He showed up. In a new way.

It was time for a new way.

Routines can be a lifeline; or a noose. They can be a comfort, or they can be a shackle. Time after time of doing something can be great; if it still works. But I think of all the times where I've been frustrated because the budget we've spent so much time on doesn't feel like it's working. Or time-wise I thought we'd be able to do XYZ... only to be disappointed again. How many times have I witnessed God's miracles? It's not a question of if God is able... It's a question of how long do I want to go in circles before I finally kill off the thoughts, the patterns, the habits, and the mindset that obviously are not working.

Today has the same amount of hours as yesterday and tomorrow, but they are different hours. They are different because the challenges we face will be new. Just like each day's miracles are new and different, we can choose to do things differently. If we don't like the way things are happening, then we must go a different way.

Except for coffee. Coffee is always good.

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