I, like many of you, have watched the craze come and go related to the iPhone 5. I have friends who ordered theirs online one minute after midnight on September 14 so they would be the first to receive them on September 21. They started tracking them on Monday, locating their phones, even able to identify to the minute their arrivals at their homes. And here I sit in my office, feeling less than sufficient looking at my now-outdated iPhone 4s.
I’m no different than the next guy — I like new stuff. There’s something about the smell of a new car, the look of a new sweater, the feel of a new pair of shoes, and yes, even the newest iPhone. There is always something new out there. Because we live in a consumerist society, it’s often about bigger and better, or smaller and faster. I’m not sure that’s the only reason we like to buy things new, though. I’m wondering if we have a bent toward what’s new for another reason.
New isn’t just about iPhones, shoes and sweaters. It’s also about do-overs. It’s about fresh starts. For instance, I wish my Cleveland Browns could have a do-over this year. I’m writing this Thursday morning, nervous about tonight’s game at M & T Bank Stadium against the Ravens. You already know the outcome of that game if you’re reading this. At the same time, though, I’m also wishing we could go back to that first game against Philly; I’m wondering what could have happened if Weeden hadn’t thrown four interceptions, and we started the season with a win instead of a loss. How could our season look different if that were possible? Of course, you know it’s not, so I continue to worry about tonight.
I think you know me well enough to know that when I talk about do-overs, I’m not talking about the Browns, as good as that would be. I’m talking about a God that seeks us out, wanting us to know Him completely. We know He desires what is best for us. And for some, that means we get a do-over. He wants to redeem; He wants to restore; He wants to bring our lives back into balance; He wants to make us new.
I don’t need to settle for the experience of purchasing a sweater or pair of kicks to find out what it means to have something new. There is so much that is artificial in that. God desires so much more for us. He wants to meet the longing in us for fresh, clean and new in other ways than just getting the newest “thing,” whatever it may be.
So yes, I like new stuff. But that is best defined by a God who makes beautiful things even out of us.
“’Look, look, God has moved into the neighborhood, making his home with men and women! They’re his people, he’s their God. He’ll wipe every tear from their eyes. Death is gone for good – tears gone, crying gone, pain gone – all the first order of things gone.’ The Enthroned continued, ‘Look! I am making everything new. Write it all down – each word dependable and accurate.’” Revelation 21:3-5 (MSG)