All Things New

New things can be scary.  New sights, people, language, culture, climate, smells, foods, routines.  And that’s just the short list.  Add to that new lessons, new paradigms, new worldviews… These are the things I’m absorbing on a daily basis.  I’d be lying if I didn’t confess that it’s downright terrifying at times.

Timeout  for a quick example?  “Ordering” lunch (read: pointing and grunting) from a street vendor and having NO idea what I just received.  I found out later it was noodle soup with pig’s blood. Quite good, actually.  So good that I ordered it on purpose today.

The thought of not knowing how quickly or slowly I might absorb the language and culture here and regain my independence is unsettling.  The thought of not really knowing what my time here will look like or what I may or may not be able to contribute or “accomplish” is awkward and uncomfortable.  The thought of not using a western-style bathroom or a normal shower for an unspecified amount of time is….well….frightening.

Above all, the thought of being here in a new place, facing the immensity of the issue of sexual exploitation and the magnitude of the hurt and brokenness that results from it, with seemingly little to offer other than an available heart and willing hands is downright terrifying.

But I confess I can’t help but find joy in the “new”.  I’m sitting here wondering where this inexplicable peace – this comfort in the uncomfortable – is coming from.

The Revelation passage that speaks of God making all things new has been ringing through my head these last few “first days” in Bangkok where everything is new.  In the process, I’ve seen a different side of this verse.

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more,
neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
And he who was seated on the throne said,

“Behold, I am making all things new.”

Revelation 21:4-5 (ESV)

In reading this passage, I’ve always simply absorbed the imagery of  God taking away all the “bad things” and replacing them with “good things” in His time, and I’ve found great joy in anticipating that day when all things are new. It can’t seem to get here soon enough, particularly when I’m exposed to sides of this life that are far from what I would consider “good” like the devastating issues of poverty, hurt and brokenness.

But I’ve always put this passage in a box.  I’ve only ever thought of it in the context of the end of time.  No more tears.  No more death.  No more “bad things.”  It’s going to be one big, happy party.  But we have to wait around for it. It’s not in our nature, I don’t think, to seek the “all things new” that God might have for us in the meantime.

We tend to think new in the here and now is scary.  It’s usually challenging and sometimes highly uncomfortable.  Sure, we all know and generally like the thought that God can make us “new creations”  (2 Corinthians 5:17) but we don’t generally like it when we’re thrown into a situation where we actually have to be new.  Or seek something new.

The little box that I’ve put this passage in is getting thrown wide open. And I’m sure my first week or so in Bangkok is only the beginning.

What I’ve learned so far:  I’ve learned it is indeed the nature of God to call us to “all things new” in the here and now.  Of course it won’t be truly finished for a while, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t chase it now.

Don’t get freaked out by this.  I’m not saying everyone should move to Bangkok.  (Although I would LOVE it if you did….)  That new can look different to everyone.  For me, it was being thrown into a new culture with a new commissioning, in order to see a new side of God’s character as He changes the lives of those around me. For many of the women I’m meeting, it’s God calling them to a new environment where they are cared for, invested in and challenged as they experience healing and restoration.  I have no idea what it might look like for you.  Maybe healing. Maybe re-commissioning.  Maybe a change of heart or a restored relationship.  Maybe something totally different.

But I’m convinced that God doesn’t call us to homeostasis.  He calls us to allow Him to make “all things new.”

We just can’t be surprised when the way it happens isn’t comfortable.  Healing and restoration aren’t comfortable.  Restored relationships aren’t comfortable, whether it’s to God, ourselves or each other.  The process of discovering and pursuing passions and callings isn’t comfortable. Being repurposed or re-commissioned isn’t comfortable.  Moving across the world – or even across town, if that’s what you’re called to do – isn’t usually comfortable.

Pretty much everything outside of complete homeostasis is uncomfortable.  On the cover, it doesn’t look like a “good thing”; in fact, we tend to equate uncomfortable with bad.  And that incorrect equation robs us of greater, “new” things that might be in store.

So, my conclusion.  Finally.  It’s the anticipation of what this “new” actually represents that’s causing this inexplicable peace and joy.  This is God’s way of yanking me out of homeostasis and re-commissioning me to live with, learn from and learn to serve these beautiful people halfway around the world.

Thailand is my “all things new” right now.  And it’s not comfortable, particularly.  But it’s good.

What’s yours?

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  • Comments (7)
  1. Great post, my wonderful roommie. And I love the new layout.

    • Rach
    • August 25th, 2010

    such an inspiration my love! thanks for letting us all watch while God works through and in you! xoxo

    • Diana
    • August 25th, 2010

    Protege is my “all things new” right now.

    Love and miss you tons 🙂

    • Russell Laird
    • August 26th, 2010

    I’m oart of the way around the world right now – in Ukraine. Over the last few years I’ve been able to learn enough of the Russian language to order most of my food with speaking although I still use a little of the “point and grunt” method. I’m sure the adjustment isn’t simple and easy but, of course you have a great attitude and outlook. Glad to see you’re doing great things!

    • Russell Laird
    • August 26th, 2010

    a different computer makes for typos – I’m sure you understand – part, not oart…

    • Jeremy
    • August 27th, 2010

    Amazing perspective. THANKS FOR SHARING! Have you heard the song by Steven Curtis Chapman “All Things New”? It’s a great song that is similar to the message you are relaying. Love the line “we think the joy found in the here and now is scary.” So true!

    • Kelly Anne
    • August 28th, 2010

    Wow Cori, thanks! You are such an inspiration, really getting us all thinking.

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