looking back to look forward

I read a column this week in my Nov/Dec issue of Relevant that was so striking, I must share. Unfortunately, I have searched high and low for it online, but no luck.

It’s titled, Ring Out the Old by Debbie Miller. Miller is director of Living Water Counseling in Orlando, Fla.

With the holidays approaching and the new year shortly thereafter, Miller explores our “seemingly endless pursuit of the latest and greatest.”

“On the brink of a new year, we are eager to dropkick the past and plow headlong into a future we assume will be brighter, happier and more meaningful.”

Miller describes spending a New Year’s Eve with friends — she had been diagnosed with breast that year, one friend fired and another “reeling from a betrayal that shattered her marriage less than six months after it began.”

The three of them declared the new year would bring change, would bring better. They vowed to work harder to make it all work.

Yet the next morning, we woke up with the same nagging fears. We wanted a new beginning to replace a painful past, but instead we were stranded in the wilderness of transition — and transition would require integrating our past into our souls, which we didn’t like one bit.

Transitions can be painful and disorienting, but I’ve learned they’re also the places where God shapes, humbles and ultimately meets us. Transitions reflect the cycle of death, waiting and rebirth — a supremely familiar pattern to those of us who claim to be resurrection people.

We can look back with as much passion as we look forward — feeling our disappointments, grappling with our losses and grieving what is left behind. We can prepare for what is coming by sitting with what has happened in the past.

In ancient Judaism, the concepts of redemption and remembering are bound together. For contemporary Christians, should it not be the same? Over and over, God exhorts His people to remember. To remember his faithfulness and commandments. To remember our stories. To remember His death and resurrection as a sure pattern of our own. To remember that He is coming again in glory to redeem creation from its groaning.

Miller ends with this parting thought. Perhaps we should resolve less, reflect more and respond to God’s whisper, “remember.”



3 responses to “looking back to look forward

  1. remembering the past is a reminder of God’s sufficient grace for each day of our journey and His provision as we trust Him. The future is an opportunity to see God at His best! love you. Mom

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