Is a season of your life coming to a close? Are you experiencing a wrapping up of some activities that have been a part of your life for a while? Are they coming to an end?
Just about the time we start to get comfortable with our situation, The LORD seems to insist upon bringing change.
If you are anything like me, you may feel reluctant about moving into new, unfamiliar settings — with a tendency to cling to the old and resist the new.
That is understandable. But here is a helpful perspective to keep in mind. The end of the old season is really the beginning of a new season. And we begin with a clean slate.
A New Chapter Begins
Just recently, we made a slight adjustment in one of the prayer meetings that takes place each week at DPM. It wasn’t huge. Just an intensified focus and a shift in the format.
Afterward, as my wife, Cindi, and I were discussing it, I shared my feeling that The LORD seemed to be giving us “a clean slate” with this shift in our prayer time.
She replied, “That is exactly the sense The LORD gave me during the meeting — like a new season beginning.”
Immediately following that conversation, we called a dear friend who had just retired from her publications career. Jane and I had worked together for the entirety of my fifteen years with DPM, and she went back even farther in her work with Derek Prince.
Cindi and I let her know that we would be praying for this transition, and I observed that possibly the end of this former season could be the start of a new chapter for her — with a clean slate.
Recognizing the Change
As these various events were taking place on that Wednesday morning, a Scripture kept rattling around in my mind.
Later, I took time to locate it and study the verse more carefully. Isaiah 43:19 is a clear word about new beginnings.
This is what The LORD says: “See, I AM doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” (NIV)
Two quick observations:
First, God is the one who initiates the “new thing” process. When it begins in our lives, we can be very sure who the Source is.
Second, it is possible for us to miss it. The LORD asks us directly: “Do you not perceive it?” It is almost as if He is saying to us: “This is a significant moment. Pay attention! Don’t miss it!”
If we can shift our focus from a sense of regret when a former phase of activity ends, we will see The LORD’s hand at work.
He is clearing the decks of the old, preparing to do something new in our lives. In fact, God expects us to cooperate in the process, as He says one verse earlier in 43:18: “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.”
The ending may seem painful and unwelcome to us. But God is behind the whole process.
Throughout his life, Derek Prince experienced many necessary endings and fresh starts.
His willingness to let go of the old and move forward in faith was a pivotal part of the worldwide ministry God entrusted to him.
Derek describes some of his steps of faith (like the ones below) in a great teaching called, “What It Means to Love God.”
* You may listen to Derek’s original audio as you read the paraphrased quote below.
“God saved me in the British army in Yorkshire in 1941. Then I remained in the army for four and a half years in the Middle East — in North Africa and then in Palestine. At that time, God called me specifically to serve Him in Palestine.
When the time came for my discharge from the army, the British army owed me a passage back to England. It was my right.
I was making preparations to go when God gave me an impression. I don’t know whether He does this with you, but He gave me a tongue and an interpretation.
In essence, He said, “The ship is in the harbor. The sails are up. Everything is ready. If you get on board now, you can go. If you miss it now, you’ll never go.”
I knew that I had no option but to obey God. At that time my dear grandfather — who was one of the closest members of my family to me — was dying of cancer. I was his only grandson. He longed to see me, and I longed to see him. But I had to say, no….
Then King’s College, Cambridge, which was my college, wrote me a very flattering letter saying, “If you come back, we’ll give you this and this and this.”
In other words, I would have an assured academic career in one of the most distinguished institutions in Britain. I had to write back saying, “I can’t come.”
So, I gave up my family, my country, and my career.”
Are you at a place in life right now where these “necessary endings” are starting to happen? Are you seeing some doors closing and a wrapping up of certain activities?
If so, you may be just about to enter a new phase of your life.
Would you like to join me in a prayer to affirm this transition?
LORD Jesus, I see all the indications that a familiar season is starting to close down.
I confess that it makes me nervous and a little fearful. My natural tendency is to look upon it as a loss, regretting that it is happening.
Right now, LORD, I choose to look at it as the start of a completely new chapter.
You will be opening doors for opportunities and frontiers I have not yet had the chance to explore.
LORD, give me a sense of adventure as I step into this new phase. I will obey Your word to “forget the former things” and not “dwell on the past.”
Instead, I look ahead with eyes of faith to the new season opening to me.
Thank You for starting me out with a clean slate. Amen.
More than Mere Words
You and I have just shifted our perspective in a huge, life-changing way. The prayer we just offered together is far beyond “pie-in-the-sky” optimism.
It represents a faith step into what The LORD is planning for us—a totally fresh stage of His work in our lives.
All of us at DPM want to stand with you as you make your entrance into this new situation. Always in such settings, the Word of God becomes our anchor, holding us firm in the face of any uncertainty we might feel.
That’s why we want to make Derek‘s teaching materials available to you at this time, starting with “What It Means to Love God,” the message from which we took Derek’s quote.
We offer it with our heartfelt thanks for your prayers for us, and for your wonderful, generous support of the work of DPM.
Keep Facing Forward
As I close this letter about a clean slate, a surprising and unexpected word of caution is coming to my mind. It has to do with our tendency to look back with regret on the closing of a familiar season in our lives — our reticence to move forward in faith.
The phrase that comes to mind is this warning from Jesus: “Remember Lot’s wife….” (Luke 17:32).
I remember a story Derek shared about the first time he heard the chorus, “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus.”
It was on a cold November night in 1947 just after he, Lydia, and their eight adopted daughters had fled their home in Jerusalem in the tough days before Israel became a nation.
Taking refuge in an American mission in the city, they heard these words being sung: “I have decided to follow Jesus…no turning back, no turning back.”
With this letter, you and I have taken an intentional step into our futures. As wonderful as the old “chapter” may have been for us, the new chapter beckons — and The LORD is encouraging us to move obediently and confidently into it.
No looking back. No turning back. With eyes full of vision, and hearts filled with faith, we look forward to what lies ahead: His new season, where we start out with a clean slate.
All the best,
P.S. We are so grateful to you for your connection with us in the work of DPM. Thank you again for standing with us. Please allow us to express our appreciation in a tangible way with the free message from Derek Prince: “What It Means to Love God.”
Materials used by kind permission of Derek Prince Ministries.