A New Thing

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 (NRSV)

For as long as I can remember, I go out for a run on New Year’s Day.  I’m usually in northern Wisconsin, so it is very “refreshing,” to say the least. With the windchill, it was -5 this morning. I think my New Year’s running began by wanting to start the new year off right – with some exercise.  After a few years, I also kept it up because I’m a perfectionist and didn’t want to break the habit.

But my run became more than a habit.  As I let go of setting New Year’s resolutions, my January 1 run wasn’t about resolve.  It was about accepting what will be.

The air is crisp and often hurts my face. When it is very bitter, I wear something over my face so that my lungs don’t burn. I have spikes I can put on my running shoes so that my feet don’t slip if it’s snowing. I wear bright clothes to delineate me from the snow. I experience the winter quiet – the sheer silence that Elijah experienced as God passed by.

Especially when there is new snow, I relish in the cleanness of it all. As I run in the clean air and fresh snow, I see a clean slate in which to begin, the day, the year, the rest of my life. I can see how what is dead is made beautiful.  But also knowing that it is not really dead, but waiting for spring to come.

I experience the hope of it all.

I experience God.

Missing my New Year’s morning run is not just to miss a chance for some exercise or to get some fresh air. To miss my run, I would miss out on an encounter with God.

This morning is a new day, a new year, and a new decade. It’s true every day that God is doing a new thing, but what new thing is God doing in your life right now? What way is God making a way through the wilderness or river of life in your desert? May we all take some time today to rest in God’s presence. For God is doing a new thing – will we perceive it?

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