NEW THINGS: ENJOYING THE BEAUTY
The passage above is a prophecy concerning Israel, but as all Scripture is the living Word of God, it speaks to us. The practice of Lectio Divina encourages us to look for certain words or phrases that stand out as we read. In this passage, the phrases “new thing” and “springs forth” stood out to me, because they reminded me of my life. I have had to let go of some things to make way for the new.
One of my “new things” is becoming aware of and enjoying the beauty around me – like noticing the little, seemingly ordinary things that often go unnoticed: the song of the wood thrush, dew sparkling on a spiderweb in the early morning sunshine, or something as simple as steam rising from that first cup of coffee.
Yet, as I think about it, this isn’t a new desire for me. I wrote this prayer over 20 years ago:
Thank you, Lord, for the beautiful world you have made! Help me to take the time to appreciate the beauty and learn more about you – and help me to pass this desire on to my children.
What is new is that I am making a greater effort to see and enjoy the beauty.
LESSONS FROM THE TREES: LETTING GO AND HOLDING ON
As I meditated on the Isaiah passage, I was drawn to the wooded view outside my window. I saw hardwood trees, whose leaves had mostly fallen, and evergreens, green and full. Interestingly, some of the hardwoods still had dead leaves hanging on as if for dear life. Eventually, they’d have to go, even if they waited until the new spring leaves forced them to fall.
Aren’t we like that sometimes? We hold on even when we know that letting go is for the best. Holding on makes us feel safe, but what if the parts we cling to are keeping us from becoming who God has called us to be?
Sometimes, especially with chronic illness, we have no choice but to let go of things we used to enjoy – or at least, we need to take more breaks and not be as active as we once were. Each giving up is hard, but God will use it for good.
The beautiful, vividly green pines were quite a contrast against the backdrop of the mostly bare hardwoods. They stood firm against the onslaught of winter as if to say, “You can’t get me down.” I wonder … could we be more like those strong evergreens, holding tightly to truth, no matter what storms we face?
In both letting go and holding on, there is truth. We all need the wisdom to know what and when to let go. God will give us that wisdom if we just ask. He will also give us the strength to cling to what is true, no matter how hard. With Jesus as our guide, we can move forward with confidence on this journey of life.
NEW THINGS: SHARING TRUTH AND BEAUTY
The phrase “springs forth” calls me to share the “new things” I learn. God is teaching me to use my eyes to see and my camera to capture more beauty. Through His word and working in my life, I gain more understanding of what is true. Then, I use my writing and art to share what I have learned. I desire to encourage others to seek truth, beauty, and new things in their everyday lives. This excerpt from a prayer I wrote years ago is still my prayer today:
Help me to find creative ways to make our home more pleasing. Help us to enjoy the beauty all around us.
My son once thought he knew why God allowed him to have muscular dystrophy, saying that if he could run and play like others, he probably would not have taken the time to write stories. His limitations also gave him time to wrestle with his beliefs. He then shared on his blog what he learned through those struggles. Though his life was short, his words and art still speak to us today, inspiring us to trust God.
Let’s pray together:
May we draw ever closer to You as we read and meditate on Your word. Give us wisdom and help us to grow continually into the people you’ve called us to be. Help us to encourage others through our practices of observing, sharing, and enjoying the beauty in each new day. Amen.
An Invitation for Relfection
- Is there a “thing of old” in your life that needs to be let go?
- Is there a “new thing” God is doing in your life through which He is drawing you closer to Him?
- Can you use a creative way (writing a poem, painting a picture, singing a song/Psalm) to express and maybe share that “new thing?”
Chronic Joy® Content Coordinator and Prayer Team
Gayl is a writer, poet, amateur photographer, artist, nature lover, crocheter, and seeker of truth and beauty. She and her husband, Steve, have 7 kids and 14 grandkids, some have chronic illness and one son is with Jesus. Gayl was a church pianist for years and homeschooled her children. She has published poems at Spillwords Press and an article in Five Minute Friday: A Collection of Stories Written in Five Minutes Flat. Her desire in life is to glorify God and encourage others. Check out her blog: Words, Photos, and Art.
Lectio Divina is the ancient practice of slowly, contemplatively reading the words of Scripture, an invitation to encounter God through His Word, to pay close attention, and to be fully present.