Do not remember the past events, pay no attention to things of old.
Look, I am about to do something new; even now it is coming. Do you not see it?
Indeed, I will make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.
Isaiah 43:18,19 Holman Christian Standard Bible
Those who know me best have commented on my extreme stubborn gene. Joni determined it was colored yellow (my favorite color) and as wide as my shoulders! (If you haven’t seen me you’ll have to use your imagination.)
Several years ago, I attended a seminar called Binding the Wounds. I have to be more accurate about why I found myself at this week-end event. Someone purchased my “ticket” for me! Our friend, who purchased my ticket, also knew about my stubborn streak. My friend also knew I wouldn’t waste the investment. Although I was tempted, I’m so very glad I didn’t deep-six the gift. That week-end experiencing Binding the Wounds began a process of transformation that continues to this day. It was where I first became acquainted with my favorite word, Process, and the understanding that everything and everyone experiencing life on this world also experiences process.
It was the time in my life when God began doing something new! At the time I could not see what He was doing. Even now I only have a taste, a peek, an awareness that He was doing something. Although I most often write in absolutes, the reason I hesitate to put this into absolutes is this process of new is still unfolding. This is what I know, God is and has been doing something new. I have no idea what it is; every day it is unfolding in surprising ways. I don’t have a clue what He has in mind, everything seems to be converging into a continuing wilderness journey. Did I mention I don’t have any idea what the new thing is?
It is in many ways easy to remember past events, or at least it seems like it should be easy. What is so hard about remembering what has already happened? Take yesterday, make a list of what you did, who you saw, write down the names of those you had a conversation with, what you talked about. Now, if possible, compare your list with someone who was involved with your activities. How well did your memories match?
Now, do the same exercise with a sibling recalling your childhood. Do it separately, writing down all you can remember. Whatever memories are most significant put into a different list. What did you just learn about yourself, your siblings, and most importantly, what did you learn about memories? Does what you remember differ with what your sibling(s) remember?
When God advises us not to remember past events, it’s possible it’s more than advice. Does He have a purpose? So far my experience with God says yes, He always has a purpose whether I know it or not.
How do our mind’s filters and life experiences impact what we are able to recall about our past, especially the accuracy with which we are able to recall what was and wasn’t? If we cannot remember what actually happened in our past, there is no way we can trust our recall, our memories. Therefore God gives us something else to focus on, to look forward to, concentrate our energies on what He is doing instead of wasting precious resources on what is behind us!
Consider how many churches are locked in apathy caused by faulty memories, looking behind, and fighting Don Quixote battles and jousting with windmills as their churches are slowly dying. As they seek to determine who is right or wrong, they sink into oblivion, becoming irrelevant in a world craving relevance, a world desiring the reality only found in God’s Grace.
All He is doing that appears new is as ancient as God Himself. It is an eternal reality that leaves me in awe of God and His love, mercy, passion, intimacy, and grace for us. He moves in and out of our time as is needed to accomplish what is necessary, and all this is done for us, for you and me!
God points us forward, redirects our vision away from the disappointments, hurts, damage, pain, and betrayals. He directs us away from the relationships which left us nearly destroyed, the scars we thought would never heal. And if we don’t focus on the new He is about to accomplish, we will never heal. As long as we choose to allow the past to dictate who we are, who we were, and who we will become, we will never be free. We will never experience the new.
I know all about falling into the quicksand of the past, and being trapped into it defining me. Even to this day it still tries to insert itself into my life. It happens mostly when I’m tired, or when my feelings decide to help by playing those old tapes of lies reminding me of all I am not and all I never will become. It is here that a still small voice, often sounding very familiar, begins reminding me of all I am in Jesus Christ. Some days it is easier to believe than others, that’s OK, it isn’t dependent on me!
God takes all the responsibility. Maybe for some that will be the new thing God is doing, the new thing you need to see. Or it may be understanding the word Believe, as it is used in the New Testament, means “entrusting your spiritual welfare to Jesus Christ.” There is this amazing revelation, showing us God is responsible for our salvation. It is not, never has been and never will be determined by your behavior! Why? Because we will never behave in a perfectly godly, no flaws manor. It is impossible for us!
That is why God prepared and provided a Plan of Salvation. That is why the Son of God came here, lived here, died here and took what was mine, yours, ours, everything for the entire world to the Cross! Yet He didn’t stop there. He then gave to you and me, and everyone else on this planet what was His, what He deserved. He gave it all to us, while taking all that was ours, every jot and tittle, with Him to the Cross,
That was a new thing! Never had any people’s god left “home” to take what their worshipers deserved, and giving to their worshipers what they as god deserved. It was a new thing for a deity to tell those it ruled over to forget the past. How could this deity control the masses if there was nothing to cause them fear?
God wants His followers to know Him as their provider, yet beyond that He wants them to know Him as intimately concerned about them. There is passion in God’s love for His people, a desire to bring them to an intimate relationship. God seeks for us the freedom of truth that is ours through Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. Too much time has been wasted in fear, in trying to be instead of just being.
The words in these two verses have even greater insight when we discover they are meant for us. God offers to do a new thing, something new in each and every life, individually and collectively. That is one reason He gave the church, the Body of Christ, a collection of believers for support and encouragement. He gave us grace with skin on, tangible and visible proof of Jesus and God.
One thing I desire very much to see, to focus on, that is to look for the new God is doing in me and others. I am quite tired of looking backwards. It becomes quite confusing, besides I miss all the amazing new stuff God is doing if I’m looking in the wrong direction! As with everything else, it is a process and there is no better place to be than in a process with God!
“I pray not only for these, but also for those who believe in Me through their message.
May they all be one, as You, Father, are in Me and I am in You.
May they also be one in Us, so the world may believe You sent Me.
I have given them the glory You have given Me. May they be one as We are one.
I am in them and You are in Me. May they be made completely one, so the world may know You have sent Me and have loved them as You have loved Me.”
John 17:20-23 Holman Christian Standard Bible
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