By Jonathan Groves
Where’s the grocery store? This place looked closer on GPS. I have no idea where that is. What’s your name again? Newness can be annoying and even frustrating. Sometimes it goes even deeper: do I belong here? What’s the plan? Is there a plan? What was I thinking?!?!
Fortunately, newness isn’t new, at least not to the Creator of all things. Crazy transitions didn’t happen for the first time when you moved away from home or changed your major or took some seemingly illogical step of faith. In fact, newness is something God has been using to shape His people and unfold His plan for a long time.
In Genesis 12, newness takes center stage with a guy named Abram. When I struggle with newness, it helps me to reflect on just how crazy this whole thing was. God shows up and dumps all this on him like a bucket of cold water. He says, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you.” Basically, God tells Abram to uproot his family, pack up, and start going to a destination he doesn’t even know yet. That’s newness on a whole other level.
But God is at work in the newness. He’s doing a bunch of things. He’s teaching Abram about his own lack of faith, and He’s showing him just who he can trust. It’s a lesson Abram needs to learn over and over again—and one that I do, too. Newness is hard, but it’s good. What does God do in newness?
God uses newness to show us Himself. The most comfortable thing about familiarity is that it is manageable. Even if it’s not good, it works. But when God injects newness, we’re reminded of just how powerless we are and how wonderfully powerful He is. If Abram had stayed where he had always been, he would not have seen God as the powerful provider that He is.
God uses newness to reveal His plan. God tells Abram he’s going to make him “a great nation…in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” God’s talking about the family line of this guy who is currently wandering for a home, a line that will eventually lead down to Jesus. God is setting a rescue plan in motion for the world through this newness in Abram’s life. This transition will have ripples that God uses to literally change the world.
God uses newness to make us more like Him. If you keep reading his story, you see that Abram goes from a guy who is willing to pawn off his wife to save his skin to a man willing to sacrifice the thing most precious to him for God. When God led Abram on this journey, He was working on his heart. Newness works on our hearts, shaking out the unimportant stuff we’ve held onto for too long. It helps us focus us on what’s really important and leads us to a deeper and more glorious dependence on Him.
Newness isn’t easy, but it is good. Praise God that He pushes us out of the familiar and into something far better.