For, even though Google maps still showed a location for the defunct town, my son has only read vague directions to the place in a book of local history. There is no guarantee anything would remain of it all these years later.
But he wants to find out. And I am happy for an adventure.
After a winding drive to a trash-strewn dead end, we quickly find a macadam road that is, by the growth overtaking it, long abandoned. Google says it heads in roughly the right direction. We both feel a surprising elation – from expectation, I suppose. The promise of discovery.
History uncovered. Something old becomes a new thing to us.
In Isaiah 48, there is an important pivot. God announces that something novel is about to happen:
“From now on I will tell you of new things,
of hidden things unknown to you.
They are created now, and not long ago;
you have not heard of them before today.
So you cannot say,
‘Yes, I knew of them.’ (Isaiah 48:6b-7)
This is no minor adjustment to his dealing with them, no tweak of preaching. It’s nothing short of the unveiling of his eternal plan of salvation. He is about to reveal, in detail, his Servant, sent to redeem his people from their slavery to sin.
And yet, when this Servant speaks for the first time following this announcement, it’s so unobtrusive, it’s easy to miss it. He simply says, “And now the Lord God has sent me, and his Spirit.” (vs. 16)
It’s almost like it’s hidden in plain sight.
Disappointingly, we didn’t find the ghost town. Our disused road simply led down to the steel plant, which must have swallowed up the abandoned houses over time. And yet, my son and I had a rich time of exploring. The grittiness of the area had its own kind of beauty. (Which cried out to be shown in black and white.)
It’s a reminder to me that Jesus often shows up in our lives in unforeseen ways. Often when we’re looking for something else.
I often find myself awaiting a great new work of the Lord, like the light at the end of a tunnel. A turning of our world to the Savior. A renewal of the church. And I pray for those things.
But I don’t want to miss the quiet voice of Jesus as he appears in my run-of-the-mill routines, reminding me that the Father has sent the Son and the Spirit to do a new work in me this day.
I am happy for that adventure, too.
Awaken us, Lord, to your new work in our lives. Even as we scan the horizon for grand turnings, reveal yourself to us in the quiet moments and the small adventures. Even in the grit of everyday life.
Reader: Have you ever gone searching for something forgotten? (Remotes and car keys don't count.) I’d love to hear about it.