January 14, 2020
“Lord, plot twist naman diyan o.”
The start of the year always brings in a surge of optimism and excitement. More so this year because it marks the start of a new decade. On social media, messages of moving on and leaving the pains, hurts, and disappointments behind have been going viral. Sarap nga naman kasi mag-move on diba?
But moving on is easier said than done. Some of the things that we’ve been wanting to change had already taken years, but they persist. Hence, we long for a much-awaited “plot twist” year after year.
As time passes, the greater the longing and desperation we feel for that elusive plot twist. Then we hear of people’s amazing plot twists, which makes us sigh in resignation, “Sana all may plot twist.”
But God, the Author of life and the best Storyteller, is also the greatest Planner of incredible plot twists.
One such plot twist came to the Israelites and was recorded in Isaiah 43.
In this passage, God, through the Prophet Isaiah, was recalling how He saved the Israelites from Egypt. This had probably pumped up the Israelites as they heard of God’s mighty exploits in the past. But God interrupted the excitement, saying:
“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing 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.”
While the former things in Israel’s history were jaw-dropping and beyond human imagination and capabilities, God brought them back to reality. “Forget the former things,” He said.
“Ten plagues against Egypt? Forget about it!”
“You think the parting of the Red Sea was amazing? Oh, I know right? But, yeah, forget about that, too.”
“But why, Lord? These were great feats,” they might have asked.
“Because I am doing a new thing.”
Maybe what’s keeping us from our most-desired plot twist is our stubbornness—that we hold on to the former things. We relive the emotions, savor the memory, nurse the pain, and refuse to move on. Kinukulong mo ang iyong sarili sa selda ng alaala.
Holding on to the former things could cause us to miss out on the new things that God will be doing in our lives.
Overfamiliarity with God is probably one of the biggest yet most subtle challenges that any believer can experience in their relationship with Him. Overfamiliarity kills our hunger for more of God. It dilutes our excitement for new things, and it makes us lose the thrill of discoveries with Him, thinking that we have already seen and experienced it all.
Could it be that our overfamiliarity blinds us from what God is doing in front of us? Have you become overly familiar with God that you think He has nothing more to offer? Have you put God in a box?
Make no mistake: God always has something up His sleeves, and He is doing a new thing. There’s always a new side of Him that we can know and experience throughout eternity.
Holding on to the past and being overly familiar with God is like putting Him in a box. When we box God, we expect Him to move in the exact way He did. But the Bible says otherwise.
He calls us to behold—to gaze with full concentration. Isn’t that one of our struggles today? To give full concentration in a world of endless distractions? Anything less than giving our full concentration will surely cause us to miss out on not just on the new thing He’s doing, but also seeing Him work in our lives.
Not only does it blind us from within, it also distracts us from what is beyond. That is why He recounted His miracles and told them to forget about the manner in which He did these. God didn’t want their faith and imagination to be boxed by former breakthroughs, no matter how amazing these were. God wanted them to see that He can do so much more.
Most of the time, our disappointments with God happen when He does not move according to our timelines and expectations. Unfortunately, we sometimes forget who the real Author is and try to fit Him into our own storyline and the plot twist that we imagine.
It’s comforting to know that God remains faithful despite our faithlessness. His patience goes beyond the countless times we’ve been angry and frustrated at Him for perceived delays and standstills.
God wants us to experience breakthroughs and change, but He also wants to prepare us for the blessing by developing our character. And character development takes time. (Case in point: It took the Israelites 40 years in the wilderness before they finally entered the Promised Land.)
The plot twist you’ve been longing for will not likely be what you expect or come in the way you imagine, but one will surely come. God will come through for you. And when He does, you will see that your heart and your character have changed.
This is why He’s calling us to behold—to see with our eyes wide open, intently focused on Him. He wants us to see Him, to see what He’s doing right before our eyes, and to see beyond the physical through the eyes of faith.
When we heed this invitation to see and focus, we begin to unbox Him. We’ll begin to see Him and His miracle.
Ultimately, God’s biggest plot twist for us isn’t the change we want to see in our situation but the change He does in us.
Are you waiting on God to fulfill His promises? Take courage: He’s not done yet.
“Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations . . .”