April 18, 2007

Fingerprints of God

2007 1511 page5 cap can’t believe that I’m the only married person who thinks that just when I thought I knew my husband’s likes and dislikes, and proclaim them confidently to someone, I discover he’s changed his mind! It’s made me realize, however, that I mustn’t take for granted my knowledge of him; I need to keep a regular pulse on who my husband is, and who he is becoming. His growth is a good thing. We all should be growing.
I discovered this same truth recently while reading Isaiah 43. (If you haven’t read the chapter in a while, I encourage you to do so. What a beautiful chapter!) While reading verses 18 and 19, I came to understand them in a new way. “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” (Isa. 43:18, 19a, NIV). I used to think of this solely as God encouraging the Israelites not to dwell on the sadness and oppression that they were experiencing; that He would deliver them. And this still holds true. But as I studied it, I came to believe that God is also encouraging His people to move beyond even the former good things that He had done for them. It’s as if He were saying, “My children, do not dwell on the former ways that I have delivered and guided you. Yes, remember them, but do not dwell on them. For today is a new day. I will lead you in a new way. If you continue to dwell on the past, you will miss My workings now! Do you understand what I’m doing?”
2007 1511 page5When I came to the Adventist Review five years ago (can you believe it has been that long?), I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that God had led me here. His fingerprints were all over my invitation! Serving as an assistant editor on our staff has been one of the highlights of my life. But God has opened up a new pathway. I have been invited by the General Conference Sabbath School and Personal Ministries Department to serve as editor of several youth Bible study guides.*
Choosing whether to accept this invitation or not was a difficult decision. While I look forward to working with my new team of colleagues, and being involved with the youth again in a more direct way, I have loved my time here at the Review. But as I read Isaiah 43, I heard the Lord say to me, “Bonita, I did lead you to the Adventist Review. Yes, My fingerprints were all over your invitation to join their staff. But I don’t want you to dwell on the past. While I led you there, and it was a very good thing, I am working in new ways. If you will open your eyes to how I am working today, you will see that My fingerprints are all over this invitation as well. Don’t you see them? Can’t you perceive what I’m doing?”
So I go forward with eager anticipation of the work before me. While I leave a great staff, I join a great staff as well. While I leave fulfilling work, I join fulfilling work. And while I leave weekly deadlines, I acquire quarterly deadlines. (God is so good!)
One of the difficult parts of my decision, as well, was the thought of leaving you. However, even though you won’t see me as regularly, and I’ll have a different byline—and probably a different picture as well, I’ll continue to write. (I promise not to get a haircut like Roy Adams’, so you’ll recognize me!)
God is truly the God of yesterday, today, and forever (Heb. 13:8). I encourage you to trust Him with your past, your present, and your future. That doesn’t mean God will never change His ways of working in our lives. It’s His fingerprints that will never change.
* I will serve as editor of PowerPoints (juniors), RealTime Faith (earliteen), and Cornerstone Connections (high school) Bible study guides.
Bonita Joyner Shields is an assistant editor of the Adventist Review.