Celebrating the past (Mom and Dad Fitts' 64th anniversary), the present, and the future (with our newlywed son and daughter-in-law)
“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.”
A number of years ago I was pondering a part of my personality that I have always been very aware of, and that is that I love to reminisce about life’s memories, while at the same time, I get easily excited by teachings on vision and anything having to do with exciting things that await me in my future. I’m pretty sure this is part of just about everyone’s life. It struck me one day that a large portion of my daily thought life centered around things of the past, and things in the future, but with little regard for NOW, and what is happening right now all around me. Somehow it’s just not as exciting as remembering how wonderful things were, or how great someday they will be. Fact is, pondering life in the past and future are only thoughts of memories and hopes, while what is going on around me right now, is actually my reality,…..my life happening right in front of me!!
The beauty of the scripture in Isaiah quoted above is that it puts in place all three of these mind sets, the past, the present, and the future, but has the emphasis where it should be….RIGHT NOW!
In my experience, when I become inordinately focused on the past, I often find myself falling into feelings of melancholy, and longing for something not attainable. This is not always true, but dwelling on the past does seem to produce this melancholy state of mind in me, longing for a day gone by, and feeling sad that it is. God spoke to Israel and told them to stop, don’t remember the former things. Obviously this isn’t an all-encompassing command in the sense that we cannot ever remember the past! After all, worship and praise are associated with remembering the wonderful things God has done! God’s Spirit is purposed to bring things to our remembrance those good things that are praise worthy which obviously involves the past. In my experience, I often found myself living my life through the constant glorification (or regrets) of the past, and this is not where God wants us.
As well, to live life always focused on what is ahead can be just as distracting. Of course, even this verse in Isaiah is speaking of “I will do” (King James Version) a future tense, so again, this is not to say at all that we should not have expectations for the future. Certainly having vision, hope and expectation is all of what faith in our awesome God is! Having said that, often my future expectations have been fulfilled are already right in front of me, and I’m looking past it being mesmerized toward something in the future! An example of this for me was when I first began to understand the principles of giving. I was so excited as my father would often say to me, “never be ashamed of claiming God’s promises” and one of these very clear promises is “Give, and it shall be given to you….” (Luke 6:38). Wow, I was very excited to begin giving and prove this aspect of God’s greatness! My expectancy was so great, I decided to give an entire paycheck to a visiting minister, as I believed in him and wanted to begin radically practicing this principle of generosity! As I said, my heart was filled with the great expectancy that God would “open the windows of heaven”. Time passed and I wasn’t seeing what I was looking for, and asked my father about this. He looked shocked at me and said, “Wait, didn’t someone recently give you a car??” I stood there stunned and embarrassed, as yes, this had happened. A good friend of mine had felt God told him to give me his vehicle, one that was in great condition and was an awesome generous gift! I had totally missed it. There it was right in front of me: God had poured out blessing on me, but because I was expecting something else in the future, looking ahead and not embracing the moment, I missed it!
This to me is God’s Word for…yes….for the moment! Embrace NOW, in fact it says, “see even now it will spring forth, will you not know it”. Amen!!!! No matter what or how God’s promises have been to us, and or how we have embraced them by faith, God says…..NOW, you will know it! Take some time, look around you, see and embrace the new things, the fresh outpouring of His goodness that God has for you! No matter how seemingly difficult or “normal” you current circumstances are, God has promised, even in the wilderness…..HE WILL MAKE A WAY!