I am about to do a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43:19
The journey to new things is often uncomfortable. Certainly anyone familiar with the laboring process recognizes the intense pain that arises prior to the birth. Sometimes the pain must be endured for a short time. But other times, it just doesn’t unfold that way and the pain lasts a long time as new life prepares to emerge.
Certainly, we all have experiences with waiting for the “birthing” of something new. A job, reconciliation with a friend or family member, physical healing, or resolution to a conflict or hard decision. Some of these journeys involve individual narrative contexts. But some point to collective experiences in the wilderness.
God’s promise here, as spoken through Isaiah, addresses all of the Israelites. They, as a group that was called to bear witness to the “I am” turned away from their covenant. And the consequences hurt. God’s path toward restoration involved letting them reap the consequences of their sin. Did every single man, woman, and child commit the sinful actions that angered God? of course not. But we all belong to each other and our sins can never be contained to a single violation of another. The ripples spread in our sea of humanity.
God’s holiness shows through God’s people in both the public moments and the more private ones. As a professor of mine once wisely quipped, “There is no such thing as “private” sin”. God knew the ways we would try to reach for power over one another.
Despite, Isaiah’s words of pending discomfort through an upcoming exile in chapter 43, hope still existed. God has always been in the business of new things. Israel had lost their way. The result would be painful for generations. But they have the opportunity to reach toward “new things.” Birth preparations are beginning.
So it is with us. We, in this country, feel birthing pains. A new thing is in process. Trusting God means we who are committed to paving new roads toward racial justice have to stay the course. When it’s hard. When escaping hard conversations becomes tempting. Blessing will come in the refining. God is making things new.
Leaning into voices different from our own points us to the vast mystery and beauty of our Creator. We are privy to seeing more of God’s character and work through sharing life with the diversity of Image bearers. Here are some people that I have found helpful in my own journey. Please explore and find multitudes, not just a few. And of of course, build relationships with diverse people in your community and online spheres.
People of Color:
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