Remember – the Value of Not Putting the Past Behind You
I love the scripture found in Isaiah 43 that says, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” These verses have been a source of encouragement during important seasons of change and God’s clear movement in my life. However, I think there is an important value in not forgetting as well.
This year as we have been in The Story, I find myself frustrated at how people in the Bible continue to make the same mistakes, take on the same battles, worship the wrong gods and turn to evil instead of learning from past mistakes. Don’t they Remember?! Can’t they learn from their past patterns?!
And then I’m convicted! How often in my life does God need to teach me the same lesson again? It seems I get stuck on the same things over and over again. God is faithful and filled with grace for me. His love and patience run deep. As I spend time remembering and reflecting by browsing my journals, I notice that God is definitely at work growing and teaching me – but there are certain themes that he has to keep reminding me. If only I wasn’t so forgetful and remembered. If only I remembered that I need to rely on God’s strength and power (2 Corinthians 12), to be slow to speak and quick to listen (James 1:19), and do not be anxious about anything – but pray (Philippians 4:6). But I don’t always and God faithfully reminds me.
A quick search of Bible Gateway shows that the Bible uses the word “remember” over 230 times. That kind of repetition means that it’s important. God uses the word “remember “ to his people as a reminder, to commemorate, and learn. The word “remember” is also used because God always “remembers” his promises to us. What a beautiful invitation the word “remember” is.
I’m not sure the Lion King got it quite right when Timon said “You got to put your past behind you.” I wonder if maybe I need to put “my past in front of me?” Sometimes that’s a scary thought – but maybe the remembering isn’t just up to me. Maybe it’s about remembering with God and through his eyes. When I remember with God, I am shaped; I grow and become more of who God has created me to be.
This is the value of remembering and experiencing God’s grace in our situations and circumstances, God’s faithful encouragement and instruction despite my stumbles. Remembering gives us the ability for God to break through and do that new thing we are yearning for. Remembering allows God’s faithfulness to shine brightly in our lives. Remembering allows us to see glimpses of God at work in the world around us.
And isn’t this just what Lent is about? It’s about taking time to remember and reflect on who Jesus was, what He did for us on the cross and what He is doing in us even now. I encourage you to take some time this season to remember.
I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your wonders of old. Psalm 77:11
Kim Laufenburger, Executive Minister and Camp Ojibway Co-Director