Open your eyes. I am going to do a new thing.
The voice in my head was as clear as if someone in the room had spoken. The only problem was no one else was there. The Lovely Lady had already left for her morning of work at the library.
I was by myself. There was not a soul in the house besides me.
I’m not a dreams and visions type person. I’ve always believed that God gives us wisdom and intelligence to follow the path laid out before us. As we make educated decisions, His Spirit guides us. Gently.
I never wanted to hear a voice in my ear as I awake in the morning. Well, except for the Lovely Lady’s telling me there are doughnuts to go with the coffee. . .
I would understand it if I had just been reading that specific chapter in the Bible right before retiring. Isaiah 43 is a powerful chapter, with reminders of who our God is, and what He intends to do. I’ve read the passage several times since that morning.
But, I hadn’t read it in ages. I don’t think it was put in my head by anything I had heard or read with a similar message.
The words just hung in the air.
A new thing? Really?
I don’t like new things all that much.
My shoes, I like comfortable and broken in. I’m using the same cash register at my music store I was using in the 1990s. It’s not that it’s a great piece of machinery, but I understand how to make it work, and that’s enough.
I like to eat Kraft Macaroni and Cheese with fried tuna patties every Thursday evening. Don’t ask me out to eat on Thursday. Comfort food night is almost like going to church. If I have my mac and cheese, I can almost believe everything is right with the world.
I don’t really care for new places, or new experiences, or new flavors.
I bought a bicycle the other day. It sat for two weeks before I even threw a leg over the saddle. Another two weeks later, I actually wheeled it out of the front door.
On Saturday, I put air in the tires and did something I had never done. I locked my shoes into the clip-less pedals and took a turn around the parking lot out front. I wasn’t happy to see a couple of big, burly fellows sitting on the roof across the street, working on the sign hanging there. I certainly didn’t want to look foolish to them.
But then, I got started pedaling and it seemed to go well. At first.
I actually thought the words as I rounded the lot for the first time.
See! I am doing a new thing!
Not for long did I keep that foolish thought in my head. You see, I quickly discovered that I knew nothing about changing the gears on this particular setup. It was right about that time I realized I would have to unlock my shoes from the pedals soon, too. Without falling over.
Bicycles have only two tires, you know. They don’t balance when they’re not moving forward. This one would come to a stop very soon, and I couldn’t remember which foot I had decided it would be best to put down first. I started to unclip the right foot, just as I slowed to a near stop. It was right about then I remembered I had decided I should unclip the left foot first.
It was also right about then the seat tube decided to slide down about six inches. Whump!
Did I tell you I was worried about looking foolish?
I looked foolish.
I hate it when I look foolish. Hate it.
And perhaps, we have actually uncovered why I dislike new things so much. Unfamiliar territory is territory where I make mistakes. I don’t appear intelligent and wise. I don’t impress.
I am embarrassed. Frequently.
I want it to stop. I am approaching sixty years old, an age at which I believe it is my right to retain my dignity at all times.
I shouldn’t be expected to learn new skills, to venture out on untried bridges, to balance on two micro-thin rubber tires while remembering which foot is which and which shifter changes what gear.
But tonight, I’m wondering—I who have declared in my brashest voice that I am a follower of the Son of God—I’m wondering what it means to really follow Him.
Is it enough that I have followed Him for these few years, the decades of youth and middle-age?
Is that enough?
What if He says to me, Better things are waiting—out there—across the bridge?
I’ve never been over there.
What if there are strange people?
Is the bridge safe?
Will I have plenty to eat, a warm place to stay, a comfy bed in which to sleep when I reach the end of each day?
On the best day fishing Peter and his partners had ever had—the best day—the Teacher told them He had better things for them to accomplish. (Luke 5:9-11)
They abandoned their boats and nets—and fantastic catch—on the shore and followed.
A new thing.
Maybe it was only learning to ride a different bicycle for me. Perhaps, that will be the end of the matter.
I wonder. Could I cross the bridge, abandoning the comfortable, familiar place I’m in? I want to believe that I could.
I might look ridiculous—foolish even.
Would you laugh?
Or, would you cross it with me?
Companions on the road are nothing to sneer at.
I don’t know where we’re going yet.
It will be enough.
Do not remember the former things,
Nor consider the things of old.
Behold, I will do a new thing,
Now it shall spring forth;
Shall you not know it?
I will even make a road in the wilderness
And rivers in the desert.
(Isaiah 43:18, 19 ~ NKJV)
“Doubtless,” said the Prince. “This signifies that Aslan will be our good lord, whether he means us to live or die. And all’s one, for that. Now, by my counsel, we shall . . . all shake hands one with another, as true friends that may shortly be parted. And then, let us descend into the City and take the adventure that is sent us.”
(From The Silver Chair ~ C.S. Lewis ~ British novelist ~ 1898-1963)
© Paul Phillips. He’s Taken Leave. 2016. All Rights Reserved.