What Was, What Is

“When the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord, the priests in their vestments came forward with trumpets, and the Levites with cymbals, to praise the Lord, according to the directions of David king of Israel. And they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the Lord, ‘For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever toward Israel.’ And all the people shouted with a great shout when they praised the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid.  But many of the priests and Levites and heads of fathers’ houses, old men who had seen the first house, wept with a loud voice when they saw the foundation of this house being laid, though many shouted aloud for joy,  so that the people could not distinguish the sound of the joyful shout from the sound of the people’s weeping, for the people shouted with a great shout, and the sound was heard far away.” Ezra 3:10-13

Exiles had returned to Jerusalem under the proclamation of pagan King Cyrus, and went about rebuilding the temple that had been destroyed by the invading Babylonian army decades before. When the foundation was in place, loud praises rang out…along with weeping. Many remembered what was, and perhaps were wistful in recalling the former glory of the temple, the times of great and godly kings leading God’s people in prosperity and holy practices. They wept over what was, maybe longing to go back, to return, to relive the good old days. But God was starting something new. His love did endure forever, and as it had carried and blessed them in the past, it would in the present.

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Where am I trying to hang on to what was, with tears that cloud the glory of the new work of God? How much time and energy do I spend mourning children’s ‘innocence,’ a newlywed ‘tingle,’ work that was simple and a supervisor who shared my values, the way things were in the good old days? Do I fritter away the present by dwelling on the past? “The latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former, says the Lord of hosts. And in this place I will give peace, declares the Lord of hosts.” What am I missing in what God is doing presently? Where am I resisting change that God has in wisdom ordered? What prejudices or habits do I need to set aside, what thinking needs a ‘reset,’ in order for me to recognize and embrace His marvelous new foundation for today? “Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” (Haggai 2:9; Isaiah 43:19)

God Who makes all things new, renew my vision for Your ‘today.’ Help me to discern the good from what was, and learn from it, and to be fully present as You unfold what is now, delighting in Your peace and refreshment, marveling in Your enduring love and joy that know no bounds. (Revelation 21:5)

 

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