There is nothing more wonderful and exciting than real newness—think about the birth of a new baby, being newly in love, discovering a new passion, getting a chance to start again. That all human beings yearn for newness is a reflection of the God who planted this desire deep in our hearts; for the God who made us in his image is indeed a God of new life and new beginnings. Come to think of it, this God does not sound so very different from Elsa when he says, “Remember not the events of the past, the things of long ago consider not. See, I am doing something new!” (Isaiah 43:18-19)
God who planted the desire for newness in our hearts is always trying to fulfill this desire. In the life of every person dealing with a struggling relationship, facing a situation that feels overwhelming, nursing a broken heart, or living a life that just feels stale and dull, God is trying to do something new. Listen to the words from this coming Sunday’s second reading, which describe what God wants for each of us: “so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life” (Romans 6:4).
God is always trying to raise us to new life, but we have to learn to recognize the new things that God is doing if we are to cooperate with them, instead of inadvertently resisting and perhaps even undoing them. We have to learn to notice the way God is working in our lives by spending time in silence with God; by noticing our reactions and responses to the concrete circumstances of our lives and sharing these with God; by trying to let go of our preconceived ideas about how it should all work out; by asking God to open our eyes and ears and hearts to new possibilities.
But we also have to remember that all the newness we can experience in this life—all the beauty, love, goodness, and joy—is but a glimpse of what God wants us to have. That is a large part of the message of this Sunday’s feast of All Souls—that God wants to give us newness and joy in this life, but that we will only experience this newness and joy perfectly in the next, when we will rest securely in God’s hand and want for nothing. And unless we live this life with firm hope in God’s promise of eternal life, we will be too easily frustrated and angered by this life’s limitations, too tempted to run away from the good because it is not perfect.
We will never be the people God created us to be if we run away from our struggles, rather than allow God to transform us through them. We may have no idea how this is possible, but (with apologies to Olaf the Snowman), if an act of true love can thaw a frozen heart, surely God can transform our struggles and pain into new life and growth.
Take Your Next Step:
Think about something in your life that you'd like to just run away from--a difficult relationship, a frustrating job, something about yourself that you don't like, or a painful event from your past. Spend time in quiet prayer sharing this honestly with God. Ask God: "How are you trying to transform me through this pain or struggle? What newness are you trying to bring into my life?"