18 Don’t remember the prior things;
don’t ponder ancient history.
19 Look! I’m doing a new thing;
now it sprouts up; don’t you recognize it?
I’m making a way in the desert,
paths in the wilderness.
God surprises us. In my experience, sometimes the change that we have waited for comes at the exact moment when we feel most resigned to our situation. Sometimes it comes precisely at the moment of our deepest despair.
I have to wonder how often God attempts to do something new in our lives, and we miss it. I suspect we often miss them because we’re looking in the rear-view mirror rather than at the road ahead. We get so caught up in what was, and the loss of what was, that we can’t look around at what is or ahead at what could be.
I think that’s why Isaiah reminds us not to spend all our time looking backward. In times of change, it’s easy to get stuck on what went wrong in the past. It’s easy to spend all our time searching for the reasons we got here. We fixate on the wrongs (real or perceived) done to us, try to place blame, and (over) analyze our own shortcomings. Obviously, it’s good to learn from the past. But we can’t live there. I’ve known many people who spend so much time thinking about how people did them wrong, that they can’t see what’s going right.
So today, don’t remember the prior things. Don’t ponder ancient history. Remember that God wants to do a new thing in your life. Can you see it?
By Joe Monahan
For Pondering & Prayer
How do you know when you have crossed the line from learning from the past to living there? What’s the difference?
Prayer: Holy God, we trust that the future is in your hands. You have given us the wisdom to discern lessons from our past. Just remind us that we can’t live there. In seasons of great change, help us to keep our eyes on the road ahead, and the future you are creating for us. Amen.