One of the most encouraging things about new years, new weeks, and new days is the word new. Webster reveals its meaning: “refreshed, different from one of the same that has existed previously...unfamiliar.”
Best of all, it’s a place to start over. Refresh yourself. Change directions. Begin anew.
Yesterday, we discussed the first step in such a venture: determining where you are. It took spending time in a fish’s belly for the prophet Jonah to see his own sin and rebellion. But that experience pointed him toward the right direction: obedience. You can find the full story in Jonah 1–4.
Just as there are few atheists in foxholes, so there are few rebels in fish stomachs. Perhaps you can identify rather easily with Jonah. This hasn’t been your all-time-spiritual-high-plateau year, right? You’ve dodged and ducked, squirmed and squeaked your way through one Tarshish trip after another. But no more. You’re tired. Exhausted says it better. Swallowed alive by your circumstances says it best. You feel oppressed, guilty, overused, and underdeveloped. You’re not that old...but you’ve run a long way. Few moons but many miles. A subtle whisper in your ear says, “You’re through. Finished. Burned out. Used up. You’ve been replaced...forgotten.”
That’s a lie! A carefully timed deception by the enemy of your soul. Look at what the prophet Joel wrote to all the Jonahs who may have been reading this book. God was speaking:
“I will make up to you for the years
That the swarming locust has eaten.” (Joel 2:25)
If God can take a disobedient prophet, turn him around, and set him on fire spiritually, He can do the same with you. He is a Specialist at making something useful and beautiful out of something broken and confused.
Where are you? Start there. Openly and freely declare your need to the One who cares deeply. Don’t hide a thing. Show God all those locust bites. He’s ready to heal every one...if you’re ready to run toward that Nineveh called tomorrow.
Excerpted from Come Before Winter and Share My Hope, Copyright © 1985, 1994 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.