“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert” (Isaiah 43:18-19 ESV).
If you are anything like me, there have been times in your life where you have wasted a lot of time in the world of What If, rehashing the events and decisions of your past. Maybe you imagine that your life would have been so much better had you decided to go to Grad school, said “No!” to a few more donuts, or done a better job of saving money. Or maybe you have been angry since that accident, that job failure, or that person’s rejection of you.
But like the toxic runoff from a factory can poison a water supply, the world of What If can seep in and poison our future.
The past can also poison our future in another way, too. We may have had great successes in our past. We may have accomplished great things. Living life with our eyes fixated on past joy or past glory is like walking backwards; you are never really sure of where you are going because all you can see is where you have been.
God spoke through the prophet Isaiah to let us know that we can’t be worried about the past. The Israelites got to the desert and found themselves longing for a life that was gone. They wanted to return to Egypt, the land of slavery. You would think that as the Red Sea rejoined they would have understood that there was no going back, yet they were unable to take their eyes off of the rear-view mirror. God even went before them as pillar of cloud by day and pillar of fire by night (Exodus 13:21), and still they looked back.
The past should never hinder us from moving forward, whether it is past glory or past failure or pain.
“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs do you not perceive it?” If we are not careful to follow closely after the Lord, we will miss that which He desires to do. I’m reminded of when Elijah was to be taken up to heaven and Elisha desired a double portion of Elijah’s spirit (2 Kings 2:9). Elijah told him that if he saw him as he was being taken away he would have his request (v.10). In the midst of a flurry supernatural activity, Elisha refused to take his eyes off of Elijah (vv. 11-12). We will have a difficult time recognizing God’s plans for our lives if we spend time looking back.
God said, “I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” God has promised us that He will be with us and guide us. He has promised that our lives will never be dry if we keep our eyes on him. Whether our past has been hellish or glorious, filled with good decisions or bad, the future of following Christ now and forever is sure to be filled with purpose and peace.
Choose to sever ties with the past; that is, don’t allow the past to keep you from moving forward. Remember, yes; but trust that God will fill your desert with a life-giving river of His Holy Spirit.
Blessings on your day!