This isn’t what I planned on posting this week, but it’s a message I haven’t been able to get out of my head, and I think it will encourage the church body in this season – what I see as a season of transition.
Something God has been saying to me over and over lately is this phrase: “How it has been is not how it will be.”
Thank God. Both personally and corporately, sometimes it feels like nothing will ever change. Personally, it feels like I’ve been circling the same mountain over and over, every year for a lot of years. I know there’s been growth and I know it’s just a season, but no matter what I do, the results seem to be the same. I’ve felt like one of the Israelites wandering in the wilderness, and I pray I’m not stuck here for 40 trips around the sun like they were. I mean, I’m not bowing down to golden idols, I’m doing my best to walk by faith and not by sight, and I’m not whining about the taste of the manna. (Okay, I’m not whining too much about it.) What else do I need to do?! What am I missing here?
How it has been is not how it will be.
A while back, I was at a low point and feeling very discouraged by my circumstances. I cried to my mom, “If this is how the rest of my life is going to be, I don’t want to live!” Even though I knew it was something I shouldn’t say, I meant every word in the moment. (Don’t worry, I broke off my own word curse later. I will live and not die and declare the works of the LORD!) Life felt hard. It’s felt hard for a long time. I was so tired of it feeling consistently difficult with little reprieve. I was tired of having to be strong and power through all the time.
“It won’t always be like this. We know it won’t always be like this,” my mom reassured me.
She said it with conviction. And her words of encouragement filled me with the resolve I needed to keep running the race. I wiped my tears, and I kept running. My faith increased.
How it has been is not how it will be, God whispers again.
If you’re going through a hard season and you’ve been obedient to the call of God on your life, how it has been is not how it will be. You’ve been faithful, and God has seen it. You’re not just going to keep going around the same mountain repetitively until you die. God has more for you than that – exceedingly and abundantly more, as Ephesians promises.
Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.Ephesians 3:20-21 NKJV
If you’re worn out, running low on strength and steam, and battle-weary from spiritual warfare, it’s a new season. Your victory has already been won. How it has been is not how it will be.
Take heart, take courage, wipe your tears, and keep running. Your promised land is ahead…maybe you’re even already in it, and you just don’t know it yet. The wilderness does not last forever when you’re faithfully submitted to God’s plan. He is leading you into the land he has promised you, even when you can’t see it.
When I think of the path to the promised land, I am reminded of the movie The Land Before Time. (The Lord speaks in mysterious ways and, in my case, it’s often through children’s movies! 😅) Littlefoot and his dinosaur friends have suffered loss, narrowly escaped many treacherous situations, and have even managed to survive during a famine and drought. They’ve been journeying for a long time in their search for The Great Valley, and they feel weary. Hope is all but lost.
Just when it seems like maybe they’re on the wrong path and are never going to make it – or maybe there is no Great Valley, maybe it’s just a figment of their imaginations – the clouds part, a beam of light comes down, and the light keeps spreading until there it is: The Great Valley. Their promised land.
In the movie, Littlefoot’s mom offers this piece of advice to him: “Littlefoot, let your heart guide you. It whispers, so listen closely.”
I offer you this same piece of advice: Let the Holy Spirit guide you. Sometimes he whispers, so listen closely. He will lead you to your “Great Valley” – your promised land. Keep on going. He is with you, and he won’t steer you wrong. I know the journey has been hard and I know it has been long, but how it has been is now how it will be. TAKE THE LAND.