The beautiful autumn weather we’ve been experiencing has reminded me of an enjoyable October walk a few years ago during which I was interrupted by sounds of shuffling movement behind me.
At one point, I became troubled by it and turned around. When I did, I was surprised to see that the sound was simply dry leaves swirling on the sidewalk from the wind.
Those dead, dry leaves made so much noise that they got my attention, startled me, and even caused me to look back. For a few minutes they interrupted what I was doing and distracted me from the beauty around me.
This incident caused me to reflect on how we can experience a similar situation in our lives.
By that I mean, we can allow old ‘dead’ issues from our past, such as hurts and mistakes, to control and negatively affect our present and future.
Like the dead leaves being propelled by the wind, old hurts, regrets, and grudges can follow us wherever we go, propelled by our own thoughts and emotions. They hinder us, cause us to have wrong attitudes and make wrong decisions. Worse, they distract us from the life we should be living.
I believe it is important to take an inventory of our life every now and then to ensure that we are not being influenced and held back by our past.
The Bible gives us direction about this in Isaiah 43, Verses 18 and 19 where the Lord said:
“Forget what happened before, and do not think about the past. Look at the new thing I am going to do. It is already happening. Don’t you see it? I will make a road in the desert and rivers in the dry land.”
I love these verses because we also gain hope for our future along with the important realization that we can miss what God is doing for us if we are focused on the wrong things, (“Don’t you see it?”).
In our own strength, it is hard or even impossible to be free from painful past experiences and recurring thoughts. It is only as we give our lives to Jesus and allow Him to guide us that the miracle of His forgiveness and restoration manifests in our lives.
It is His loving presence and cleansing every day, as well as His guidance in practical ways that set us free to live the full and abundant life that He died to give us (John 10, verse 10).
“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is [his] faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23.
Patricia Bryan is the pastor of His Path Christian Centre and the Academy of Prayer.