My section for the latest issue.
The Way We Were is one of my favorite movies. In the movie, Katie and Hubbell are an ill-fitted couple who take many chances at being together despite having very little in common. One of the reasons they were so on and off again is that when they remembered their past relationship, they remembered it with rose-colored glasses. They remembered the good times and the laughter, but they edited out the painful and challenging parts of their relationship.
In general, I think it’s easy to look at the past with longing and happy thoughts while editing things that were unpleasant out of our memories. In this way, a known edited past becomes easier to digest than an unknown future. But we need to look and reach forward.
A familiar passage about reaching forward is found in Philippians 3:12-14. It reads, “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
In the like, in Isaiah 43:18-19, the Bible says, “Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.”
God wants to do a new thing in each of us. But how can He do a new thing when we are constantly looking to the past with longing? How can He do a new thing when we can’t let go of the hurt and pain of yesterday? There is nothing in your past that is worth going back to get. There is nothing gained by continuing to nurse old wounds. The constant looking back is like a dog who returns to its vomit or a sow who returns to the mire after washing herself.
There is a danger in looking back. Look at the example of Lot’s wife. God was trying to take her and her family to a better place and a better future, yet she looked back. I invite you to look and reach forward for whatever God has in front of you. The best days of your life and ministry are in front of you. There is nothing better behind. God’s plan is to give you a future and hope, not to keep you imprisoned in your past.