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? Isaiah 43: 18 – 19
I don’t know if it’s these dreary, winter days, or just because I am getting older, but I have been spending some time reflecting on the past and remembering fond memories. And of course, I couldn’t help but think,“Where did the years go?” In fact, I remember wishing many times then that I could stop the passage of time.
As I was thinking about some of those experiences, I began to wonder just for the pure joy of it – if I had the opportunity to choose any 5 days of my life to relive, (to go back in time, or even watch onscreen like a movie), which ones would I choose? But I had to stretch it to 8 – there were none I could eliminate. And then I realized they were all about family! Nothing can compare with those special memories! It’s intriguing to think about those possibilities and which ones we would choose, isn’t it?
I remember the first time I read this verse, and I kept thinking about reasons why such a verse would be in Scripture. It seemed so unlike God to not want us to have the joy of sweet memories in the past. But after much reflection, I realized how much love, and how many new experiences, new people, and how much happiness I would have missed, if I could have stopped the passage of time and left things the way they were, as I thought I wanted. How sad to think of what I would have missed – especially the increased faith and trust God has given me along the way.
This is who God is – always creating newness – new possibilities for life and new hopes for the future. He is the One who takes our endings and makes them into brand new beginnings. He has a plan for us, and that plan often stretches us in ways we could never imagine or thought possible – often with even humbling circumstances. But many times our past experiences have given us the faith and strength to get through the new ones as we remember His love and grace. What a new thing He has done, and does, in us when that happens! And what joy we have along the way!
I think what God is trying to tell us is that the past is important and sometimes even necessary to remember, but we shouldn’t dwell on it so much that we miss out on what He is giving us in the present, or what He has in store for the future. We should let Him be our guiding force and trust that He has something planned for us – far beyond our own expectations.
Oh, there may be challenges along the way, but from experience, I know there will also be much joy! New things springing up all around us! What a reminder to not miss out on what He has planned for us during these cold winter days! We need to appreciate and enjoy each one! And there’s always spring just around the corner – with all the newness it will bring!
Dear God, thank you for new beginnings and all the opportunities you present to us. We are so grateful that you walk along the path of life with us, guiding us and helping us along the way. Thank you for past memories, but also for each new day with all its new possibilities and blessings. Amen