Yesterday was my birthday and it’s just so amazing how time imperceptibly tip toed past my beclouded – and yes, bespectacled – eyes. Eyes that were so busy roving over history books of yesterdays, clouded by the past that they forgot to see time dancing past.
I am particularly big on history. I believe, for one, that if we want to move ahead in the future and not make the mistakes we did in the past, there is a need to dust up our books and take stock. That sounds like a perfectly logical thing to do. Right?
Which was why yesterday, I decided to settle down and think of my past. I thought of my childhood (*smug smile* yes, I said childhood), my teenage years (ok, don’t roll your eyes now – I meant the major parts) and my…now. From where I sat on my bed that morning, the view looked very colourful, with some white, black, red, green and even grey areas.
At that point I got confused; what part do I focus my lens on, really? Those times when I did things I wasn’t so proud of? Or those ones where I could beat my puffed up chest? Either way the lens went, one thing was evident, there was no helping my future with this. I tried so hard to spot mistakes and think up new strategies to advance. Nada. Zilch. Nothing! I tried resolutions and wishing lists. Didn’t work. Because somewhere in my heart I couldn’t find a motivation, a springboard to hop on to my new year.
I kept searching.
Then it hit me!
“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.” (Isaiah 43:19 - NIV)
I finally got it. God is doing something new! He is making ways and springing upwelling of waters. This is the trend. And He’s calling me, drawing my attention and wondering how I could be so alarmingly obtuse. “I’m doing it! Open your eyes and see it. Perceive it. Don’t be so insensitive”. There is relief for me in this arid place. There are spurts of revitalizing waters in this desert but somehow I couldn’t see it and God’s gift to me is this, “Look!”
But there is a problem.
The new is great and exciting. It is all I want and all I look forward to, old news is getting boring and frustrating. But there’s more to this promise than just looking and seeing it. To enter my brand new future, there has to be a “letting go”. I need to forget the past, no matter how ugly and frayed or how sparkly and glorious because going over history will keep me from the new, it would build a misty cloud over my eyes so I miss my “new” twirling past me.
“No one cuts up a fine silk scarf to patch old work clothes; you want fabrics that match. And you don’t put wine in old, cracked bottles; you get strong, clean bottles for your fresh vintage wine. And no one who has ever tasted fine aged wine prefers unaged wine.” (Luke 5:36 – The Message).
So, no matter how much I fancy my old clothes, there is no patching them up with the new silk. Nope. God would not build a new skyscraper on an old foundation, he would not make do with the old. He would not build on my yesterday. I have to forget the past. Forget it and how comfortable it is, forget how cozy its familiarity feels, forget its glories and shame. Everything.
I’m dropping my thick-leather-back history tome, placing it in a fancy chariot and hurling it at a 60 degree tangent straight into the Red Sea; chariot and all.
I’m turning my back.
And I’m getting forgetful.
That. Is. My. Happy Birthday.
“Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? There it is! I’m making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands.” (Isaiah 43:19 – The Message Bible).