An old Russian proverb says, “He who dwells on the past, loses an eye, but he who forgets the past loses both eyes.” That reminds me of driving. We all know that you can’t drive forward with your eyes fixed on the rear - view mirror. Smart drivers know the importance of being fully alert to the present, tracking towards their future destination and also often glancing in the rear-view mirror.

In our personal lives we, too, must learn to know the difference between a look at our past for the purpose of orientating, adjusting, evaluating it for present use and future direction and that of dwelling on, living in or being held hostage by our past. One brings failure, the other freedom. One adversity, the other adventure!

God has an awesome way of revealing unresolved issues of the past to us. When we least expect it, perhaps during a casual conversation about something seemingly unrelated, a secret, hidden away for years in the dusty, musty attic of our memory, may be brought to light. We knew it was there, forgiven and forgotten, or so we thought. “What for?” we think. “Why now?” “Why here?” We may never get the answers to our questions, but if we know Him, we can trust that it is His time to deal with it in our lives and use it even in the lives of others. Though Satan should buffet, God is in charge. “Why?” is not as important as “Who!”

God finds a purpose for each one of our memories. No one loves pain, however, and that keeps some people unwilling to face painful memories. Paradoxically, it is in the revealing, the remembering, in the telling of the past, that there is release. The memories are then redeemed and totally integrated into who we are. We can then speak about them without fear or malice. No longer fragmented but made whole, our present is healed. Every past human experience is brought to bear on our present life. We are truly blessed if God has sent someone to listen, love and to care without judgment or rejection. Our experiences then shape us for ministry to others; to walk with them through their valleys as someone has walked with us through ours.

"He comes alongside us when we go through hard times,
and before you know it,
He brings us alongside someone else
who is going through hard times
so we can be there for that person
just as God was there for us."
2 Corinthians1:4 MSG

The Old Testament reveals the good, the bad and the ugly; those who have frustrated, as well as those who have carried out God’s designs. Nothing is concealed. Perhaps our painful past can be seen as our personal old testament, some good, some bad, and some ugly. But that’s not all there is! Let Jesus write your new testament! As we yield ourselves to the powerful work of the Holy Spirit, His acts will be manifested in and through us for all to see; we will be as an open book. By facing it realistically, listening to its messages and not denying or forgetting it, the past can effectively be used to improve, change, and even transform the present, demonstrating the awesome power of our eternal God, who is not limited by time.

We would not be who we are today had not our past happened to us the way it did. We may have been dealt with wrongly, or we may have done wrong ourselves, but we have an opportunity to learn more about how our perfect loving heavenly Father deals with His children. With His promise to never leave us or forsake us, we have a future that is sealed in His love.

Remember the past,
redeem the present, and
rejoice in future hope.
It’s your choice.


Karabeth said...

Whenever I try to forget my own past I think about the Apostle Paul. He didn't allow his past to work like an anchor weighing him down in the work. He was able to do a magnificent work for the Lord anyway and yet he never forgot the sins from which Jesus had saved him. He just didn't let the past and its pain paralyze him.

Rachel...finding joy... said...

What a wonderful post! I found your blog through another, and was immediately struck by the analogy of the past and the rear-view mirror. Thank you for sharing that truth.

It is so true about the past. So many people are bound to the past, almost if the past, that mirror has taken over their present. They are no longer living a life of joy for the Lord, but are rather bound to the shame, hurts and losses from days and years prior. But we know that in Christ there is no shame. There is freedom!

I've really enjoyed browsing your blog. I'm going to add you to my list of friends over on my homeschoolblogger blog.

Blessings to you!


Julie said...

Karin.... I LOVED every word of this! I completely agree. I often say you have not dealt with the past until you have removed it's affects on your today.
That can't happen until you hear God's truth spoken into the places of pain...

I also often say that God will bring up what He wants you to look at. When He brings it up it is His invitation to heal and restore..

Thank you for your words on my blog. It blessed my heart.

Cathryn said...

Wow, you are so articulate for Christ. And guess what ~ this very thing you write of happened in a major way just last night. Something I thought was forgiven and forgotten but God showed me otherwise. At 3:00 a.m. this morning I am writing this old acquaintance and sharing with her - finally releasing a grudge - it was humbling and wonderful all at the same time. Thank you Karin for all of your writings. Thank you for your friendship. Thank you for being the "giver" of my first blog award. It tickled me pink. Blessings to you Cathryn

Lady Dorothy said...

What wonderful words. Great rear-view mirror analogy. I will remember that vividly.

I have presented you with an award for your literary and personal values. Come by my blog to pick it up!

~linda~ said...

I found your blog thru someone elses and i have to say I too was really struck by the analogy of the driving and the rear view mirror...never quite saw it like that b4...thanks