While walking back to the front door with the mail yesterday, I looked down and saw thin green blades poking through. My toes did a little dance, and a smile covered my face. Finally, after a brutal winter–at least by my Southern standards–signs of life and sounds of newness are bursting forth. We spent the weekend in Mississippi where everything is already green, and my parents’ wisteria is starting to bloom and will soon coat their pergola in a lavender canopy. My brother and sister-in-law were in town with my precious five-week-old niece, Abigail Grace. So beautiful, so new.
During our devotional from Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing this morning, the girls and I read these words…
Just before he died, Jesus shouted from the cross, “It is finished!” What was finished? Jesus was saying: everything you need to come back home to God, everything you need to be free and happy in God, everything you need to live forever, I’ve done it all! It wasn’t a cry of defeat. It was a shout of victory. The great work of rescuing us was finished! There is now nothing you can do to make God love you more–and nothing you can do to make him love you less. It is finished!
I immediately thought of a conversation with a friend last week as we talked about things we’re holding on to, pain from past sin that we’ve already been forgiven of but can’t quite let go of. And those words our Savior uttered as He hung on a cross spoke deep into my soul, “It is finished!” We can let go because He said, “It is finished!” Because He gave up His life. Because He humbled Himself. Because of Jesus.
I’ve shared before that I struggle with fear on a daily basis. Occasionally, I will wake up in the middle of the night after a horrible nightmare with my heart racing. Last week I was dealing with a specific fear and my dear friend Kimmie shared with me words that have kept her heart at peace during seasons of great fear, “God is doing something new.” Her words came from Isaiah 43:18-19, and she sent me the Message version, “Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? There it is! I’m making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands.” And when I looked up the same verses in the ESV, I smiled because verse 19 starts out, “Behold, I am doing a new thing.” Behold is leaving its mark on my heart and soul. Behold is changing me, helping me learn to be still and hold on even in the midst of my greatest struggle–fear.
It’s time to let go, time to surrender that thing we’ve been holding on to. Mine is fear, specifically this week, fear from past pain. What is yours? The sin you’ve struggled to release? The stronghold you’ve wrapped yourself in, convinced you’ll never escape? The shame you’ve carried for way too long? When Jesus declared, “It is finished!” it was a shout of victory. We can cling to His promise that He “will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”
Behold, I am doing a new thing.