I’m writing this early on a November Sunday morning, deep in the North Carolina Piedmont. Out on my deck, where I just finished a mug of coffee, it is 52 degrees, and the sun is beginning to backlight the gorgeous fall colors that have exploded in response to the change of seasons.

I have been thinking about the Scripture my adult-ed Sunday school class will be discussing today. The reading comes from Isaiah 43:18-19 and the voice is God:

“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?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.”

So today, watching the edge of the world roll around and draw all of us toward the early morning sunlight, I want to invite us to be grateful for another brand-new beginning, confident in God’s providence, reassured by grace and ready to move without fear into the gift that is tomorrow.

By the way, I went back and took a look at the beginning of Isaiah 43. And here—in words of deep reassurance—is how God gets the hope-filled “I am doing a new thing” conversation going:

“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…”
– Isaiah 43:1-3

I find God’s promise more than reassuring, the fact of redemption is everything we need to know when we are uncertain about tomorrow. “Do not fear…I have called you by name, you are mine!”

Not just a remarkable fact we should accept with confidence and grace, but words of life charged with truth that we absolutely must live in to.