Last year I sat amongst the wildflowers of Jesus Green and considered their fragility. Those silk-thin petals and long stems were defined for me by fragility, inevitable transience in the face of the blue frost and dark nights of winter.
Yesterday I took a walk back to those wildflowers, treading the paths of countless memories, sweet and bittersweet, from last year at Cambridge. Yet this time, as I sat amongst the pink and gold light of early afternoon, I did not see the wildflowers as fragile.
Instead I saw life and life abounding: the awakening of colour and beauty just as winter begins to approach; the defiant show of newness and growth in the face of whatever else is out there. In those wildflowers I saw less of a fragility and more of a flourishing: a new thing is coming, and it is going to be good.
I think this new perspective comes from some verses that God’s caught my attention with over the past little while. Isaiah 43:19 proclaims:
See, I am doing a new thing!
Do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.
This is the heartbeat of God: ‘See, I am doing a new thing!’ The story that he’s writing is one completely of renewal and restoration. His tendency is always towards life and life abounding.
You see, even through wildernesses and wastelands God is making a way. He is always carving out spaces for streams to run – his heartbeat always proclaims a new thing, a new thing, a new thing is coming. As a final year student with no post-graduation plans this is wildly reassuring.
Through the change and shift of constant questioning – what next? and who do I want to be? and where do I want to go with my time, my study, my friendships, my ministry? – there is this steady heartbeat of a God who makes all things new. There is the heartbeat of a God who causes the fragile things to flourish, who shifts our perspective from the weight of questioning to the freedom of trusting his voice to direct us.
There is this heartbeat and this hope, and through it all God answers the questions of change with promises of his love, grace and new life – new life displayed in the flourishing of those wildflowers and the words of his Word, and in the lives of those who follow him. So at the start of this final university year, let’s make of this a prayer.
You steady me by answering my questions with your promise of a new thing, of fragile life made to flourish under your care. You lead me through the questions and the change and you make me new.
Can I draw near to you in this change? Can you use this year to cause me to follow you more deeply, more sacrificially, more distinctively? Will you bring your kingdom in my thoughts, my words, and my relationships? Will you speak to the hearts of my friends through the life you’re leading me to live? Will you give me wisdom and discernment as I follow? Will you make it clear to me where to go next?
I really know that you will, and that all will be well. Father, form in me your image and give me ears to hear your voice wherever I find myself. May I listen and trust: may I find myself steady in your hands, for a new thing is coming.