In Isaiah 43:18-21, God gives an illustration of a divine reset. He tells the Israelites he will do something brand-new, something they have never seen before, by making a way through the sea and a path through the mighty waters. God is promising the people of Israel, who had been in bondage, that a new life will come out of the most difficult time in the nation’s history.
He tells them he is going to do something extremely new and different. He says, “I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert,” which suggests there will be pathways never before taken. Through the reset, God was going to give and show them opportunities, using the remnant and residue left over from what they had been through.
Isaiah 43:18 states, “Do not call to mind the former things, or consider things of the past.” Here God tells the Israelites that resetting is an opportunity for them to look for him to do brand-new things and not to get stuck in old paradigms and ways of doing things.
He commands them not to get stuck in the former things that tied them to bondage, deficiency, poverty and a defeatist mentality. God tells them that, as bad as it has been for them, it will also be hard for them to imagine anything else. It will be hard for them to see that light on the other side of their past trials. For them to be in a position to receive the light, they must forget, not remember or meditate on, the former things God had delivered them from.
In Isaiah 43:19, God says, “Behold, I am going to do a new thing.” And, in this season of divine reset, God is doing something we have never seen. The pandemic has caused us to rethink structures, rethink systems, rethink our personal walk and holiness, and double down on what is essential to our faith.
The new thing is something we have never seen before. In the context of this text, God is saying to the Israelites that he is going to deliver them into unbelievable prosperity and advancement.
God says, “Now it will spring up, will you not be aware of it?” This suggests the new thing will happen suddenly. But if we are not careful ― if we continue to ponder or dwell on the past ― we can dismiss what God is doing in the present and how he is preparing us for the future.
In other words, your pain and past can blind you to the possibility of your future.
In this season, God is saying to his people he is doing something inside the struggles of the worldwide pandemic and social and racial unrest. And we will miss it if we are not careful. He says he will make roadways in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
God is saying that he will do an extraordinary, unimaginable and seemingly impossible work in all of our struggles. Isaiah 43:20 describes how everything around the Israelites shows God at work.
In Isaiah 43:21, God says, “The people whom I formed for myself will declare my praise.”
A divine reset comes when we thank God for what he is doing now; for our past failures, because we have learned from them; for past challenges, because he has brought us through them; for past defeats, because he has caused us to overcome them; and for past attitudes, because he has given us a new attitude in their place.
We can thank him for all this because God desires us to rise from the worst times of our lives like a phoenix out of ashes with newness and an expectation to see a side of him, we have never seen before. In these moments we are most eligible for a reset.
I believe this is a season for the church to begin to expect God to do something new, something that he has never done before. This is the season for us to challenge our past systems, structures and essentials and let God be God in our present and future.
He is going to do something we have never seen before. Let’s prepare for it. As we come out of the pandemic, my charge to all believers is not to hold God hostage to our past or hold our past hostage to God.
God will do a new thing by using what we have been through to take us to places we have never seen.
I believe this is the year of divine reset.
Dr. Michael L. Henderson, Vice President of National Ministries
Dr. Michael L. Henderson Sr. is Converge’s vice president of National Ministries. He founded New Beginnings Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, in 1999, along with his wife and only 12 members. Through his faithful leadership, the church has grown to over 7,000 members. Henderson is a native of Akron, Ohio, where he began his ministry work. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication and theology at the International Bible Institute and Seminary, Orlando, Florida. He is also a graduate of Ashland Theological Seminary, Ashland, Ohio, with a Master of Arts in church administration and counseling. In October 2009, Dr. Henderson received an honorary Doctorate of Divinity from St. Thomas Christian College in Jacksonville, Florida.