“Pass through, pass through the gates, and go from old to new. Prepare a new path for the people. Build! Build up a highway for them to come to me! Remove every hindrance and unfurl a banner for the nations!” Isaiah 62:10 (The Passion Translation)
Recently, I read a contemplative piece that caught my attention. The author mentioned the frequency with which we lament that we are “going through some things” as a way of expressing the pressures we feel due to life’s circumstances. He then reminded the reader that the point is that we ARE going THROUGH! Suddenly, I realized that I often assume I AM going where I need to go, and that I am proceeding along the correct pathway, when in reality, I am wallowing in the ditch alongside the road I thought I was navigating. Indeed, in our contemporary usage, the expression “I’m going through some things” smacks more of self-pity than of the progress the word choice should indicate.
God invites us to transition; He invites us to leave behind baggage and sorrows of the past. On occasion, He even directs us to abandon the activities and seasons that brought great joy to our lives, as He has appointed an end to those seasons and is calling us forward to as-yet-unfamiliar adventures. How can God release new experiences to us if our hearts and hands are already overloaded with regret, sins, sorrows, business, and even nostalgic memories of bygone eras? He beckons us to pass through the gates, proceed from old to new, and begin to encounter the next season He has ordained for us.
As we pass through the gate and enter into new “land,” He commands us to prepare the path for others and build a highway (an easily navigated path) for them to come to Him, the King of the universe. He instructs us to remove obstacles and hindrances that might lead to stumbling or needless delay and set up His banner of love for all people.
Obeying these instructions requires that we ourselves make every effort to STAY on the highway. That means we can ill afford to slip aside, fall into the ditch of depression, or lick our wounds. The challenge is to recognize when we have slipped into that mindset of wallowing in the ditch while thinking we are still on the road. (After all, deception would not be deception if we recognized it readily, would it?) As one who tends to be overly sensitive to my own responses to my surroundings and excessively scrutinize my own heart, I can easily veer off into the soft grass and inadvertently tumble down into the stagnant waters of self-reproach, sorrow, and missed opportunities.
Holy Spirit, reveal to me when I have strayed from Your highway and even failed to go through the gate through which You have appointed me to pass! Restore to me the JOY of Your salvation, Father, and renew a right spirit within me! Thank You, Lord, that You have called us to pass through the gates and build up the highway rather than wallowing in failure or sadness. You set our feet in a wide place and enable us to move forward. Amen! May it be so!