“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”
—Isaiah 43:18-19 (Read Isaiah 43)
What does it mean to be “made new”? The Bible speaks a lot about how we are a new creation through God, but what does that mean, what does it look like, and how does it relate to where God calls us in vocation and life?
In this passage from Isaiah, Isaiah is speaking encouragement to God’s people during a difficult time of exile and captivity. The two verses are part of God’s message to His people: they are not to harp on their personal and communal past, but instead to remain hopeful in God’s promises to make all things new, provide for them in all things, and breathe new life into each of them.
So often, we limit ourselves by our perceived shortcomings and existing abilities. We say to ourselves: “I’m not smart enough to accomplish that.” “I’m not outspoken enough to lead people.” “That’s not my major, that’s not what I have a degree in, so I can’t go into that field.” But God is not limited by who we are and what we think we can do. That’s part of being a new creation! We’re no longer bound to what we can do on our own, but we allow for God to do anything through us!
Moses had a stutter, but went on to speak to Pharaoh on behalf of the Israelites. Rahab was a prostitute, but went on to save the Israelites. Jesus Himself comes from a line of sinners who were used for God’s glory. And isn’t that what we all are—just sinners being used by God to glorify Him.
The question we should be asking when discerning our calling is not “what can I do for the kingdom of God?”, but rather “what can God do through me to bring about His kingdom?”
When God calls, we need to answer. For God does not call the equipped, but rather, He equips the called. No matter the place, the industry, or the group of people to whom God has called you, He will guide you and supply you with all of the necessary skills and abilities, just as He led the Israelites—and now us—through the wasteland.
Dear Lord, please guide me in Your ways. Lead me to a path which pursues Your kingdom above all things. Remind me that I can do all things in You, and that You equip me to follow You wherever You have called me. Let all fear and doubt be removed from my mind, and help me to focus on You in all that I do. Amen.
—Martha Layne serves as a leader on Cornerstone's First Year Ministry Team (FMT).