All Things New and Beautiful

by Christina Rose

“Now, if anyone is enfolded into Christ, he has become an entirely new person. All that is related to the old order has vanished. Behold, everything is fresh and new.”  2 Corinthians 5:17 TPT

The Christmas season was upon us; I sat in the rocker by the fireplace, enjoying the peace of early dawn while the twinkling lights of the San Francisco skyline appeared on the horizon. My first baby was due to arrive any day and my thoughts went to Mary, who, many years ago, was about to give birth to Jesus. A season of waiting and laboring would be rewarded with a new baby to make all things new and beautiful.

Another season of waiting and laboring happened at Christmas two years later when my second daughter arrived. Again we were blessed with all things in our life made new and beautiful. Seasons of great blessing can often begin with waiting and laboring.

A monarch butterfly starts life as a hungry caterpillar that hatches from an egg. It feeds off leaves until large enough to molt and shed its skin. It then hangs upside down from a twig or leaf and spins itself into a cocoon called a chrysalis (a Greek word for gold). Inside the protective case, the caterpillar radically transforms and then emerges as a butterfly or moth.

Creation is often preceded by a quiet time of seclusion, stillness and patience while the creator is at work. He knows when the time is right to call forth his new creation, even though the wait may seem long to us. Recently, I was in a place thousands of miles away from my home. My daughters are now grown, and I was tucked away in a tiny penthouse with a view of the Rockies. I nestled among fluffy white comforters and pillows by the fireplace to study Scripture, pray, write, and hear from God.

In my opinion, a new door was taking too long to open.

One day I prayed, “God, you’ve done great things for me before, why not now?”  I felt him answer, “Yes, I have done great things for you, and now I want you to do a great thing for me. Trust me for every thought, every word, every act, everything. And just as I sent David and Joseph out to do great things for me once they learned to trust me in the dark places, I will send you out to do great things for me.” As I pondered this, I drifted off to sleep. 

In my dream my white comforter became a white cocoon from which I emerged with giant, beautiful blue butterfly wings streaked with gold and began flying over the earth. The sense of freedom was powerful.  As the dream ended, I was left with the feeling of exhilaration and excitement that something new and beautiful was about to happen.

“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.”  2 Corinthians 3:18 NKJV

Great changes upon the world at this time are forcing many into seclusion and isolation. People are turning to faith as the physical world is shaken.  Evangelists and prophets are rising up and thousands are coming to Christ.  Like the caterpillars who are permanently changed, God is at work in us, radically transforming us into the image of Christ. We must trust that God, the supreme Father of all creation, is at work, and his timing is perfect. We must have faith that God is in control and loves us all so much. He is creating a world with all things new and beautiful.

“Look! I am creating entirely new heavens and a new earth! They will be so wonderful that no one will even think about the old ones anymore! As you wait for the reality of what I am creating, be filled with joy and unending gladness!
    Look! I am ready to create Jerusalem as a source of sheer joy, and her people, an absolute delight
!.”  Isaiah 43:18-19 TPT

About the author: Christina Rose is an author, trainer and speaker with the John Maxwell Team. She is a DAR whose patriot ancestors fought in the Revolutionary War.  

Christina’s book, My Appeal to Heaven, is her story.  With her young family on the verge of falling apart, Christina appeals to heaven for hope and freedom just as her patriot ancestors did hundreds of years ago. She is a contributor to the Arise to Peace Daily Devotional and a frequent blogger for Arise Daily Devos.

Join the conversation: Is God taking a long time opening a door for you? How do you manage the wait?

God Works in the Waiting

by Jennifer Slattery

But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me. Micah 7:7 NASB

When God doesn’t seem to answer my prayers as I like, or according to my timetable, I can become anxious, discouraged, and frustrated. I’ve had times when I’ve become disillusioned. I can easily forget that He is always, always working out His glorious, life-giving plan, whether I see His hand or not. He works as powerfully through our waiting and periods of divine silence as He does through His miraculous acts.

As Christmas approaches, which I know will be hard, maybe even disappointing, for many this year, I’ve been contemplating all that occurred prior to Jesus’s birth. The longing, the waiting, and the loving, sovereign hand of God that worked through it all.   

The nativity story begins with a faithful, older couple named Elizabeth and Zechariah. Luke 1:6-7 tells us “Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old.”

These two verses, sitting back to back, really hit me. They honored God, despite the deep ache they must have felt, despite their decades’ long unanswered prayers. And I’m certain both—the fact that they remained faithful to God and barren—provided comfort to so many others in their community. Those who were pleading with God, perhaps for children of their own, maybe for healing, or that opportunity that never seemed to come, were beginning to wonder if they’d perhaps done something wrong. Maybe they thought God’s delay or decline revealed His lack of favor was the result of some sin.

In those moments when negative thinking threatened to consume their minds, did they pause and reflect on the unanswered prayers of this well-known, well-respected, godly couple? And in their reflection, did they find the strength to wait just a little longer, and to trust that God saw them, heard them, loved them, and was working in their waiting, just as He worked in Zechariah and Elizabeth’s?

If you’ve read the full story, you know God did answer Zechariah and Elizabeth’s prayers in an awe-inspiring way. After decades of barrenness, He planted a mighty man of God in Elizabeth’s womb, the one who came in the power and spirit of Elijah to prepare the way for our Savior. I love that part of the story. I love seeing those miraculous, only-God-could-moments. But today, let’s sit in the waiting, that place we’re sometimes tempted to rush through, remembering that God is working, even there. He is with us, even there.     

If you’re currently in a season of waiting, may you sense God’s presence and His love. You aren’t forgotten.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

Jennifer Slattery

About the author: Jennifer Slattery is a multi-published author, ministry, and the host of the Faith Over Fear Podcast. Find her online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com, find her ministry at WhollyLoved.com, and find her podcast at LifeAudio.com and other popular podcasting sites.

In her new podcast, Faith Over Fear, Jennifer helps us see different areas of life where fear has a foothold, and how our identity as children of God can help us move from fear to faithful, bold living. You can listen by clicking on the link below or by visiting LifeAudio.com.

Join the conversation: How might God be using your waiting period for something glorious and life-giving?