A few weeks ago we had to say goodbye to this beautiful umbrella pine. It got damaged in a windstorm and we had to have it taken down. We were heartbroken by this. We loved the tree and we found ourselves unable to imagine what life would be like without it. We had a hard time picturing something new being there.
It was while I was reminiscing that I realized how often we do this in our spiritual lives and sometimes even in our churches. We have a hard time letting go. We can’t imagine the new thing that God might already have birthed.
Job lamented this in Job 29. He reminisced about the good old days when his character and spiritual life was the talk of the town. He wanted to go back there. If I could only have that passion I had before God. Can You work in me the way You did back then? Job was dissatisfied with his present situation. He was looking at a hard, bare piece of ground where a tree used to stand and he couldn’t imagine anything being better than that.
Yet God wanted to do something new. God could see the new tree that He wanted to plant in Job’s life. It might not be an umbrella pine, it might be better. It could be a weeping Cherry with beautiful tulips in front of it.
I can relate to Job. It’s hard, even scary, embracing the unknown. It seems easier to ask for the past. But I don’t think it is because we think the past is better. It’s because we have a hard time picturing what God wants to do. It’s hard to walk into the unknown future. Yet…that’s faith. That’s what God asks of us.
He knows His plan for us moving forward, and it is often much better than it was in the past. He can do far more than we can ever think or imagine. Actually, the unknown is the best place we could be, because it’s an unknown...with God. And there can be nothing better than that.