God makes all things new, and we’ve been reminded of that in Scripture several times this Lent as we approach Easter, the ultimate renewal. Truth be told, I’ve responded differently to God’s making all things new, depending on where I am in my life.
When I am in a period of great transition, I balk at newness. Big, sweeping changes feel like the rug is being pulled out from under me while I cartwheel through the air, and I respond to God with a little sullenness. “Hey, God, cut it out. Can’t you keep some things the same so I can at least get my footing?” God enjoys transition much more than I do, it seems.
However, when I am going through a rough time, one in which things seem bleak and impossible, I draw hope from God’s assurance of renewal. Situations that seem to have no resolution or end in sight make me wonder if things will ever change, and it’s hard to imagine how they will. But God promises to make all things new. Somehow, some way, transformation is going to happen. In my limited, human capacity, I can’t see how, but God assures me that things will change. So, I hope.
Not only does transformation always come, whether I want it to or not, but God’s love is in that movement, whether I see it or not. It’s like water in the desert for people whom God purposefully created for God’s own self. The poetry of these lines is so beautiful that I want to believe them. “See, I am doing something new! Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?”
No, God, I don’t always perceive it, but I trust it.
Trust, though, can be a tricky thing. The spirituality of my community is rooted in trusting God, and it’s still hard for me. A practice that does help, though, when I feel despair creeping in, is to look back over times in my life when God brought good out of difficulty. In the cool, clear light of hindsight, I can see how God worked through a situation to come to my help. I can see how I grew. I can see the transformation.
Praying this way, which Pope Francis calls the Prayer of Memory, helps to deepen my trust when new difficulties arise. How so? Because I know from my own experience that God is trustworthy. I don’t trust God just because I should. I trust because I know.
Dr. Brené Brown has some helpful insights about trust in a video called “The Anatomy of Trust.” She gives the analogy of filling a marble jar. When loved ones are trustworthy, even in small ways, they add a marble to the jar. Over time, little by little, the jar fills up and shows us who is dependable. God, who is ever trustworthy, is the ultimate marble jar friend. God constantly shows us just how trustworthy God is. We just have to notice. The prayer of memory helps me to notice the marbles God has given me, and that deepens my trust.
God is making all things new, especially during hard times. I trust this movement.
Basically, that’s what we’re celebrating as we move through Lent and toward Easter, isn’t it? It’s the Paschal Mystery. Death is always followed by life. Suffering is always redeemed. Dawn always follows the night, and both the dark and the light are holy.
As we endure the crosses in our own lives, we have to dig down deep into hope. Resurrection is on its way. God makes all things new.
How do you respond to change in your life?
If you look back through your life at your hardest times, in the light of hindsight, can you notice God’s presence with you? What is God’s presence like?
What makes trust difficult for you?
What does transformation feel like? How is God with you during times of transformation?
By Sister Leslie Keener, CDP
Sister Leslie Keener, CDP is the director of God Space, a community-building spirituality ministry in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. She’s a Sister of Divine Providence with a Masters in Ministry and a Certificate in Spiritual Direction and Retreats from Creighton University. She directs retreats, meets with people for spiritual direction, and serves as the vocation director for her community. She also serves on the Coordinating Council of Spiritual Directors International. She enjoys music, meaningful conversations, and dancing.