“Instead of your [former] shame you shall have a two-fold recompense; instead of dishonor and reproach [your people] shall rejoice in their portion. Therefore in their land they shall possess double [what they had forfeited]; everlasting joy shall be theirs.” -Isaiah 61:7
Sometimes memories from the past seem to stalk and sting us with the shame of an experience that we thought was resolved a long time ago.
“Why…” I’ve wondered, “can’t I just forget?” I’ve been forgiven. So why am I still burdened by this sin and pain from the past that replays in my mind like a faded picture show?
Lately I’ve come to the conclusion that there is more healing to be had for the inner layers of my heart—aka “the wellspring of life” (according to God). I’ve seen the symptoms for a while now. I usually get defensive and throw up walls that my husband refers to as Fort Knox. Or, if I’m really fired up, I get offensive and unleash a hell fury of vengeance through my pretty little lips.
Most people look at me like I must be kidding when I share this with them.
“You?” they muse. “I can’t believe it. I just don’t see you losing your temper.”
Well, yes. Me. Believe it. I have issues, just like the rest of humanity. And some of them stem from unresolved pain that has its roots in the past.
I firmly believe that we can be forgiven for something—for everything actually—and that we can still struggle with past regrets, because there is a deeper level of healing that is going to take place. A deeper part of our heart still needs to be unlocked and released from fear.
There is a contingent for this healing. We have to be willing, really willing to receive it, willing to do things we haven’t done before. And we have to be honest. Without honesty and willingness, healing isn’t possible.
If you’re like me, you don’t want to try to shove down or shut up the pain of those wounds that just won’t seem to heal. After all, wounds need proper care. And sometimes scars need aftercare too. They don’t just go away on their own when the initial cut was really deep.
You know that verse in Isaiah when God says to His people, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.”
I used to read that and think that it meant I wasn’t supposed to think about anything negative that happened in my past. And while it’s true that God doesn’t want us to be burdened by the past, because we are NEW in Him, it doesn’t make any sense that God would tell us to do something we can’t do. That would be like commanding someone to have amnesia.
I think part of what God is saying here is that He wants us to anticipate what He has for us now, today.
Today He wants us to experience Him in new, fresh ways that we’ve never known before. We don’t need to look to the experiences we’ve had with God in the past and think that He did His work in us, and now we better figure out how to stay excited about the experience we had with him five years ago, or even last month. We treasure our past experiences of God’s forgiveness, healing, and nearness. But we also HAVE to realize that God has new things for us: new healing, deeper intimacy, mind-blowing, life changing stuff right here for us today. We just have to let Him in by telling Him where it still hurts.
When we do, a beautiful path appears beneath out feet—a path that was there all along—that we are now ready to take.
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