Once again we join Scrooge as he sleeps blissfully unaware that his date with redemption is about to begin.
“Are you the Spirit, sir, who’s coming was foretold to me?”asked Scrooge.
“Who, and what are you?”
“I am the Ghost of Christmas Past.”
“Long past?” inquired Scrooge….”
“No, your past.”
From A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
The past is impossible to change, it has happened and the best we can do with it is to learn. One of the characteristics of human nature is we tend to dwell on the past. We even go so far as to try living there. “I sure miss the good ole days!” is a remark often heard from those who are unhappy with their present.
Another realm where we often find ourselves trying to set up our home is the future. It is place we cannot live. How can we live what has not happened? As a matter of fact, we cannot be sure what tomorrow will be, or what is going to occur when we get there!
So, where do we live? The only place you can really live is in the present, the now. You can make plans for your future or your family, but there is no guarantee your plans will be reality. Brooding over what has already been murders the ability to live in the here and now.
Luke 12:25,26 — “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?”
Matthew 6:34 — “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Then why take Scrooge into his past if nothing can be changed? Actually, something can be changed, his present and his future. We need to be aware of our past as it is able to motive us to choose a different life attitude. Living in the past is destructive; being aware of the past can help us make better choices. It is also as we remember what God has accomplished in our lives that we have courage to trust Him with the future. We too recognize that our present can be different as we seek other ways of coping with and living life.
Scrooge needed to be reminded where he came from, how his choices in the past were directly affecting his present, and determining his life course in the future. It is as we understand who we are and why we are the way we are, we can seek Gods directions for our present and our future.
It definitely is no picnic confronting our past choices, relationships, and attitudes. It often is not a very pretty picture, and can be quite shaming. However, God wants us to firmly hold Him, to let Him determine how the past impacts both the present and the future you! As we recall how God has worked in our past, we know He will work in the here and now, and the what is yet to come. These revelations help form in us the willingness to choose God and His plans for us.
God says to you and to me, “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 desert and streams in the wasteland.” — Isaiah 43:18,19 NIV The power in these verses overwhelms me; it reminds me Who is in control of my life. And God does this for His namesake, for His purpose to create new out of old. This promise is for all of us, and is an amazing thing to share!
For me, the last few months have been exceptionally challenging. It seems and feels like the emotions of a lifetime have hammered me like a tsunami. Past ugliness I thought I had dealt with slaps me in the face. I have overwhelming feelings of worthlessness, guilt and shame. The terror of not “getting it right” has haunted my nights and days. Then Jesus, in His incredible Grace and Mercy reminds me who I am. I am His and He is taking my past, using it to accomplish deep changes in me and in others. I know this because the others have told me, and I, when I am in my right mind, recognize His fingerprints. Even the writing of this blog is a divine appointment set up by God to bring continued healing in me and in you.
Just as Ebenezer Scrooge needed to confront his past so he could move on into his future, so do we! The past is not a place to live, it is a factor that helps us to live, to choose, to be different, to receive God’s Grace, and to be willing to experience that Grace every moment of every day. There will still be those days that drive you into your cave. However, you can know Jesus is with you as you discover He was always with you!
“Remember these things, O Jacob
for you are my servant, O Israel.
I have made you, you are my servant;
O,Israel I will not forget you.
I have swept away your offenses like a cloud,
your sins like the morning mist.
Return to me,
for I have redeemed you.”
Isaiah 44:21,22 NIV
Our understanding of God and all He is able to accomplish begins with us viewing our past to see His handiwork, as we become all God has for us.
“The ransomed of the Lord will return.
They will enter Zion with singing;
everlasting joy will crown their heads.
Gladness and joy will overtake them,
and sorrow and sighing will flee away. Isaiah 51:11
We can trust God with our past, making it possible to trust Him with our now and know we can trust Him with our future. All this is because we are cocooned in Grace in Process.
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