Present TENSE

Isaiah chapter 42, verses 8 through 11:

I am the LORD; that is my name;
my glory I give to no other,
nor my praise to carved idols.
Behold, the former things have come to pass,
and new things I now declare;
before they spring forth
I tell you of them.”
Sing to the LORD a new song,
His praise from the end of the earth,
you who go down to the sea, and all that fills it,
the coastlands and their inhabitants.
Let the desert and its cities lift up their voice,
the villages that Kedar inhabits;
let the habitants of Sela sing for joy,
let them shout from the top of the mountains.

Sing a new song… whether you’re in the sea the coastland the desert or the mountain, the city or the village – sing a new song.  Not just any new song – sing a new song to the LORD.

Why should we sing a new song?  Because God is doing a new thing!  

I love a line from author Walter Brueggemann, who says this new song asserts God’s future against our present tense.

Tense!  How many times do we say the phrase “present tense” and think nothing about the “tense” part?!  I think we are so accustomed to being tense that we simply take it for granted.  We need a new song, a song of how God’s future is different, how God’s future is good, how God’s future is not tense. 

We know as part of this IoH family how tense the present can be.  The present tense of life-threatening illness is the whole reason for Inheritance of Hope’s existence – we are on mission to inspire hope in families in this present tense.  We are a new song about God’s hope that overcomes the present tense.  Inheritance of Hope is a creative expression of God’s kingdom, counter to the conventional realities of sickness and death.  

Most of the world sees illness as an end, the end – that’s why it’s called “terminal” illness – it’s seen as the end to life, end to family.  We, in God’s light, don’t see end to life and family but opportunity to stir the soul and enrich family!  That’s a new song!

I’ll share one recent and awesome example.  At the end of December, Dillon Padgett had dinner with a family he served at the NYC Legacy Retreat.  Dillon lives in Michigan, the family lives in Florida, they met in NYC – and they got together for dinner!  Technically, Dillon was on time off from IoH – he shared a meal because it was family, not work.  The mom of the family, who has stage 4 cancer, gushed with kind words on Facebook, including this about Dillon: “He is my son now.” 

Let that sink in.  A mom with “terminal” illness didn’t lose her family because of the disease, she grew her family!  That’s a new song!  That is hope!  

We’ve been singing this new song for 12 years, and we want to sing it more and more and more – sing it with more families, sing it with more volunteers and donors, sing it with more amazing partners like our Kendra Scott friends, sing it so vigorously that God’s kingdom comes and God’s will is done on earth as it is in heaven! 

This year we’ve done our biggest Legacy Retreats yet, but it’s still just the beginning y’all!  There’s a whole world out there that’s stuck in the present tense, that needs to hear this new song of hope.  Let’s sing it strongly today, with and for these families, and grow to sing it more and more!

Aaron is Inheritance of Hope’s COO.  A version of this devotional was first shared with the February 2019 Orlando Legacy Retreat team.  Read more Inheritance of Hope blog posts >>