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God’s Doing a New Thing

June 8, 2018 by Scott Lisea

The Kilauea volcano has been erupting since January 3, 1983. The past four weeks have been some of the most exciting to watch as the constant effusive eruption has become an explosive eruption, complete with spectacular lava flows, molten geysers, and stunning nighttime aerial shots of dramatic glowing transformed landscapes. I have been obsessed with watching videos every night of the eruption changes and developments. 

Can you imagine how the landscape is forever changed where the lava has flowed and dried? Where there was once a lush jungle, there is now cooling lava, and there will someday be massive hardscape of lava rock. And then…new soil, new plants, and an expanded geography as the island rejuvenates and resizes with every drip into the ocean at the island’s edge. It’s stunning.

In a similar fashion, with the merger between ELMO San Roque and Providence, SBCS, these two beautiful schools that have produced beautiful fruit and thriving graduates are about to take new shape as we come together. The old shape will soon be a thing of the past. The new shape is built upon the old shape, but it is not the same. It is new.

I imagine, like the residents of Leilani Estates on the Big Island, there is some grieving that accompanies the awe. They liked their houses, their farms, their neighborhoods, and their island the way it was. It was good. That’s why they chose to live there—they liked it and they wanted to keep what they had. Inevitably, there is some grieving when a force bigger than you changes something that you liked just the way it was.

Part of the definition of “life” includes this descriptor: “continual change preceding death.” Did you catch that? Life requires constant change in order to exist. Once change stops, you’re done (of course, eternal life has already begun for us in Christ, so glory hallelujah, but you get my point!).
 

It is human nature to want to keep things the same. This desire reflects our eternal search for security, which is a good thing. It is simply misplaced when we substitute settling down and digging in for dynamically following wherever God leads us. The Bible is full of stories of how God has constantly been mixing it up for his people. It tends to drive us to depend on, trust, and have faith in him, and he likes that. He likes it because it’s good for us.

Look at the words that Isaiah was given to deliver to God’s people: “For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland” (Isaiah 43:19).

Notice the tone of how God announces change through his prophet. It’s not with dread and he doesn’t deliver it as bad news. It’s a proclamation of his goodness—He is doing what is being done, and it is good. He’s already been at work, and he’s inviting us to see it. He’s been making a way forward even when we thought there was no way. Where things have been dry and lifeless, he is creating rivers (plural!) of life. This is good news, because it is something that he is doing, and he is going to call us to trust him like we have had to before. And we are going to find him trustworthy, and we’re going to experience the new to be good, because it is from him. We can count on it.

God is doing a new thing. It’s not ELMO 2.0 nor Providence, SBCS Enhanced Version. It is not the old thing with new paint. It is a new thing. The individual schools in their current iterations were once the new thing he was doing. Now he is doing this new thing. There is so much goodness ahead as we pool our resources, people, experience, faith, and mutual love and nurturing for children. God is doing a new thing, and he is inviting us to see it.

I have been deeply immersed in the details of the merger. There are a lot of them. I tell you with a full heart and a clear mind—this is good for the movement of Christian education in Santa Barbara. In fact, this is the best thing that can be happening right now for God’s work in this mission. I am so impressed with and proud of the people who are rolling up their sleeves and giving countless hours to this merger. They are seeing what God is doing and entering into the joy of having a closeup view of his work.

I encourage you to welcome the change. Change is hard news and good news. But if it’s happening we know we are alive! Welcome the new thing that God is doing.

One of my favorite places to watch a sunrise is from atop my surfboard. Whenever I see one I marvel at God’s constant creation. Lamentations 3:22-23 says, “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

Every day is a new day with new things and new waves. It’s best to ride them when they roll in, rather than be rolled by them!

God’s doing a new thing! Grab your board! Great is his faithfulness!

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