Have you ever clicked something on your computer, then suddenly realized that you made a horrific, disastrous mistake? At first you freeze, your mind scrambling for some way to take it back. Then you panic. You want to scream, cry, punch something, swear, or run away and join a monastery.
But eventually, you find a way to continue on with life.
That’s how I felt this week. Literally. With one click, I lost the first 20 chapters I’d written for my next novel, HOPE IN THE BALANCE. After a few moments of pure insanity, I spent the rest of the day trying to get them back. But all the king’s recovery programs and all the king’s tech experts couldn’t put my manuscript back together again.
One expert’s wisdom: “Unless you have a time machine, it’s gone.”
So I went for a run, showered, went to bed, and woke up the next day resigned to my loss, wondering the question we all wonder in those moments—“Why?”
Before I opened my Bible for my morning reading, I asked God to take me to a passage that would give me some perspective. In my spirit, I heard him whisper, “Jeremiah 18.”
In chapter 18, God tells Jeremiah to go learn a lesson from the potter. When the pot he’s forming isn’t turning out the way he desires, he flattens the clay, and uses the same clay but with a fresh start.
God tells Jeremiah, “Don’t I have a right to do the same with my people, Israel?” (my paraphrase) He’s our Creator. When we get off track from the beautiful design and the eternal purposes He has for us, doesn’t it make sense that He should give us a fresh start?
We tend to think of the Old Testament as only about God’s relationship with Israel. But Jeremiah 18 is one of many passages that gives us clues about His dealings with the rest of the world. He tells Jeremiah that He has been and continues to do this process with all the nations.
I’ve heard pastors refer to this moment in history as a divine “reset.” It’s certainly an opportunity for us to reevaluate our lives, and make a fresh start.
This is the final week of my 40-day fast as well. I’ve joined hundreds of thousands globally in a Jesus-fast for the End Times Harvest. Every day I’ve tried to read Isaiah 58, God’s heart for true fasting. From these verses, I’ve taken my 5 Areas for a Fresh Start.
In Isaiah 58, God corrects His people for being too busy with business and religious activities. Do any of us relate? The result of that busyness is
- not being available to family
- not noticing or helping the hurting ones around us
- not guarding our rest and health (Sabbathing)
- not trusting God with our finances (while we rest, He still provides; when we give generously to others, He provides us with more)
All four of these areas are being highlighted as the corona virus has forced us to shelter in our homes, many of us unable to work or go to religious meetings. Could it be that God is offering us a fresh start in one or more of these four areas? What new habits could we establish now to bring us back to God’s design and purposes when the crisis is over?
My fifth chance for a fresh start goes back to the Jeremiah 18 passage—
- having a heart for the nations.
The corona virus has alerted us to the suffering of nations all around us. Have our busy daily lives so consumed us, that we’ve lost our influence as global citizens? Maybe this is a good time to reengage with the nations—through prayer, giving to charity work, or planning a trip to serve others. The end of World War II saw a massive missions movement in America, especially sending people to Japan. Could we believe God for a similar response to this world crisis?
I hear people using the phrase “God’s judgment” in ways that make it sound like He’s against us. That’s not true. He is for us! I’d love for us to understand the word “judge” in terms of “to analyze, evaluate, weigh.” When God judges that His creation has strayed from His intended beautiful design and eternal purposes, it’s His mercy to use the same “clay”—us—and give us a fresh start.
I’ve no doubt my next version of my twenty chapters will be even better than before. May our post-Corona version of our selves be even better than before as well.
Please click on the COMMENTS button and tell me your thoughts about a fresh start. I promise that click will be a painless one. J