The importance of our leaving the past behind and moving forward into the future God has prepared for us…
I just read this from the introduction to a book I’m reading about navigating through the storms of life:
“Because my father was the parent who slept lightly, he was the one we awakened if we felt sick or troubled in the middle of the night.
There was always a soft night light glowing by the radio in the kitchen, and I’d find my way to the kitchen table while my father set about making two cups of tea.
As we waited for the water to boil he would open the back door and look out at the night sky.
He reassured me many times that morning would soon come, and that the things that were frightening in the dark were always more hopeful in the light. But it was when I faced the emotional dark of broken dreams and deep disappointment that they came alive.
I carried that promise with me,
and as I grew up and left home I often remembered the hope of those words in the literal dark of night.”
— Paula D’Arcy
There’s this book that I remember reading called “The Dark Night of the Soul,” by St John of the Cross (1542-1591).
The Dark Night of the Soul” is a term that is commonly used to describe a period of spiritual transformation and growth, as we allow the Lord to heal those areas from our past that are interfering with our forward progress.
It kind of reminds me of what the author of the Letter to the Hebrews is saying;
About getting rid of the excess baggage from our past, in order that we may run the race that is before us:
12 So since we stand surrounded by all those who have gone before, an enormous cloud of witnesses, let us drop every extra weight, every sin that clings to us and slackens our pace, and let us run with endurance the long race set before us.
[We may feel alone, but we aren’t. We are surrounded by an army of witnesses. They have run the race of faith and finished well. It is now our turn.]
2 Now stay focused on Jesus, who designed and perfected our faith.
He endured the cross and ignored the shame of that death because He focused on the joy that was set before Him; and now He is seated beside God on the throne, a place of honor.
Also Luke, in his gospel, gives us the following account, regarding the cost of discipleship:
57 Farther along on the road, a man volunteered to become a disciple.
Volunteer: I’ll follow You to any destination.
Jesus: 58 Foxes are at home in their burrows. Birds are at home in their nests. But the Son of Man has no home.
59 You (to another person)—I want you to follow Me!
Another Volunteer: I’d be glad to, Teacher, but let me first attend to my father’s funeral.
Jesus: 60 Let the dead bury their dead. I’m giving you a different calling—to go and proclaim the kingdom of God.
A Third Volunteer: 61 I’ll come, Jesus. I’ll follow You. But just let me first run home to say good-bye to my family.
Jesus: 62 Listen, if your hand is on the plow but your eyes are looking backward, then you’re not fit for the kingdom of God.
Do you remember the story about the woman at the well, and how Jesus promised her that living water would flow out of her innermost being?
David spoke of something similar in the Psalms:
You attend to the earth and water it; with abundance You enrich it.
The Streams of God are full of water, for You prepare our grain by providing (abundantly) for all the earth.
There is a life force from the River of God flowing through the universe, and everything exists in a single moment, forever unfolding.
Perhaps this was what Jesus was speaking of when he was speaking to the Samaritan woman at the well, in John chapter 4:13…
“Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst.
But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”
Jesus explained that He was not really speaking about literal water, but a spiritual source of refreshment and fulfillment that satisfied completely.
To be able to provide such water, Jesus would indeed have to be “greater” than Jacob, who originally dug the well they were drawing water from.
Jesus described this water that He talked about as a “welling (springing) up,” source of life, within the individual.
Clearly He was referring to the “Holy Spirit” who provides eternal life.
As in His conversation with Nicodemus, Jesus again alluded to the Old Testament passages that promised salvation pouring forth like satisfying water.
The water that Jesus promised provided satisfaction without hard work to acquire it, in contrast to the literal water that the woman had to draw out of the well.
Many spiritual functions parallel physical functions.
As our bodies hunger and thirst, so do our souls.
But our souls need spiritual food and water.
The woman confused the two kinds of water, perhaps because no one had ever talked with her about her spiritual hunger and thirst before.
We would not think of depriving our bodies of food and water when they hunger or thirst.
Why, then, should we deprive our souls?
The living Word, Jesus Christ, and the written Word, the Bible, is the only thing that can satisfy our hungry and thirsty souls.
Having forsaken all, let us leave the past in the past and follow Jesus, wherever He will lead us.
So let us open ourselves up to this stream of life.
Allow the Holy Spirit to heal our past and purify us, so that the past is no longer our lens to the future—so that the past can no longer interfere with the destiny God has for us.
What will it be like to look without fear or negative expectation, to see things through God’s eyes, pursuant to the future He has planned for us, with nothing in the way?
SELAH (let us pause and calmly think about these things)