The familiar and unfamiliar paths…
I was at a conference a month ago. I was blessed to have had this particular speaker come to my area, and I was happy that my mother was able to attend with me. It was an overall good time, but the second day hit very hard to my soul.
The second day, I remember fumbling through a good few thousand people to get back to my seat.
I stopped and saw the speaker for a moment, because she had stopped in front of me to embrace a sweet old lady and the lady with her. After they walked away, and the speaker went back to their seat, I walked by and stopped, because I knew this person knew me and I believed the Lord had made the meeting in front of me happen. This person came over to me, and hugged me and then she looked into my eyes and said very directly, “ Make sure you get a Word today.” and walking away I felt I was in for it.
Interesting enough, while the message the speaker gave while it was amazing…the deepest message for me came during a praise and worship song, that had no lyrics to what was spoken to my heart.
“ The familiar places have been covered with grace, and I now lead you through the unfamiliar.”
I stood there, and just felt the tears pour down my cheeks, and my entire body was shivering…I knew where that Word came from…
I opened up to Isaiah 42:16…
“ I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them..”
Up to that point, I had read that verse seeing “ unfamiliar” as a place of testing, and a place that was just unbearable, a place of torment…but God showed me something huge at that moment, and I walked out of the conference that day with a real Word.
The “familiar” places are those things that we can only see directly in front of us, that are close enough to our reach, what we are able to control or manipulate to go our way, and the expectations we have for ourselves and others based on what WE THINK.
The “ Unfamiliar” we see the bigger picture, they are places that would help us to see the realization of what Phil 1:6 is about, “ That HE will bring it all to completion, but we have to trust Him to know we are a work in progress, and that He won’t leave us in a stagnant place without making it really uncomfortable so we leave it. This is a place of learning to let go, because He pulls us away to what was “familiar,” and teaching us to trust Him even when we believe He has not kept His Word. We lose expectations for ourselves and others because we come to realize it is based on WHAT GOD THINKS, AND HIS PLAN.
I had learned somewhere recently about how Eagles teach their young to fly, and it was quite interesting, and not very different to how the Lord is with us.
The eagles start to make the nest an unbearable place to live, jagged edges of twigs instead of soft hay underneath the the little young bodies of the baby eagles. The eagle also when it feels it is time for the baby bird to fly will push its young out of the nest. The eagle will watch her young try to fly, and just before it hits the ground it will swoop down and rescue them. The same process happens until they learn to fly.
The familiar place provides comfort , and it provides a place of where we can hide from the things God calls us to do, and little by little God pulls it away, whether it be a relationship or something we love to do.
He makes it so we don’t want to stay in that place anymore.
I remember the movie, “ What Dreams May Come,” and how the wife was in hell, and her husband went to rescue her. Her vision around her was so distorted, she thought she had a beautiful home around her, and she thought even her garden looked nice and kept. She did not feel the hailing of the cold wind piercing through the darkness, or the falling rocks from the foundation slowly slipping away.
I think it is safe to say that eventually if God did not come to deliver us, we would have a very similar view of the life around us. We would be caught up in all sorts of things. But He loves us enough to walk us out of it, and into something beautiful.
I wish I could say that the “unfamiliar” places are easier to walk in, but they really are not. But what they are is REAL…what they are is a place you know God set your feet, it is a place of repair of brokenness, and restoration. A deep healing from things we never even realized were part of us.
It’s a place of real separation from our old life, and thought patterns…to a life of fresh revelation and meaning, and purpose.
Our every sense even changes. We see through different eyes than before, and what we didn’t pay attention to before suddenly shines bright in our sight, we think differently or what is called “ Kingdom thought,” setting thoughts to things above and learning to cast out of thoughts what tries to hurt instead of help, we speak differently…The tongue is powerful, but in the “unfamiliar” there is forgiveness for those things spoken over us, and those we have spoken too…and even touch is different. I have found myself grabbing onto peoples arms when I speak to them instead of standing 3 ft away,….
It’s amazing how much can change when we live by faith and step out of what has been so comfortable.
There are days where its not always so easy to take a breath and move forward, but I’d rather have God in control of my life and my growth than ever letting myself or anyone else have that control.
So I look ahead where my footprints have not yet imprinted in the sand and trust that God will not let me fall through.
I will lead the blind by ways they have not known,
along unfamiliar paths I will guide them;
I will turn the darkness into light before them
and make the rough places smooth.
These are the things I will do;
I will not forsake them.