I love wide-open spaces. An expanse of sagebrush, quaking aspen draws, and old, weathered cabins are a thing of beauty to me. Traveling along a dirt road far off the asphalt beaten path and seeing these old structures speaks to me. I can imagine a stagecoach pulling into a stage stop with lathered horses and tired travelers looking for rest and refreshment. I suppose my preferences are because I am a son of the West. Worn leather, lever-action rifles, and a decent steak are things I enjoy. The temporary disposable life of the modern world seems to lack a soul.
The stage stops of old are now lonesome ghost town-like dwellings. They were once needed because stagecoach travelers and their teams of horses required planned stops to complete their journey. A stagecoach would travel about 5 miles an hour and on an average day would cover 60-70 miles on flat terrain. If mountains were present that distance would be much less. Today, we drive in an hour what would take a stagecoach a day to travel. In one way, I am thankful to not have my kidneys bouncing over ruts for hours on end. I have come to appreciate cruise control and a coffee holder.
Some ways of thinking in the Church are like these old stage stops. It’s not that these early stagecoach stops did not serve a purpose in their time, but now in this season of life and with the advent of advanced modes of travel, to use a horse-drawn wagon makes no sense.
Revelation does not allow us to park at the memories of the past, even if those memories have value in reflection. Prophetic revelation is fresh and new and always expanding at the speed of our faith. It moves us from the past into the future. A reminiscent prophetic longing for the good ole days in both style and function can hinder our ability to receive the new thing God wants to do in His Church.
The Lord said to Isaiah “Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert” (Isaiah 43:19). The “springs forth” part of the verse caught my attention. It is possible for something new to not spring forth because we are so focused on a prophetic stage stop from the past that we are not able to comprehend or interpret the new thing the Spirit is saying.
I appreciate what has gone before us in the testimony of the pioneers of our faith, but those were revelations and methods of ministry particular to a specific time and place. Apart from the essence of the faith they demonstrated, they were never intended to be a spiritual tourist stop. The new thing God is asking us to realize requires new eyes and ears to see and hear what the Lord is revealing to the Church in this unusual season of history.