It was a frigid cold day in Fort Collins today, but I was able to get out and it really didn’t feel as bad as the temperature indicated. I made it to the final Tuesday morning prayer time for the year and then returned home to email my year-end newsletter to some that were not on my mailing list. I did have a workout today with my trainer. I am always surprised how difficult my workouts can be with him when we don’t use weights. It is always a good reminder of how many muscles are still very weak.
BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY… “…one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13,14
As we face a new year and allow our dreams to be empowered by prayer, it is important that we deal with issues of the past. At times the past can be a “ball and chain” holding us back. When we look at Paul’s past, it wasn’t all bad. In our life while the hurts and failures of the past are more devastating, often the accomplishments of the past can keep us from reaching higher.
Painful failures are evident throughout the Bible, and can manifest themselves in numerous ways in our world today. Sometimes dreams are dashed in childhood, others come through the experiences of life and our own decisions. One thing that you can observe, just like physical pain, “Not everyone’s pain is the same – not everyone’s reaction to pain is the same.”
How can you confront a painful past and begin to dream again?
1 – Pain must be admitted and confronted. Denying or hiding the pain doesn’t resolve the pain. In 1 Samuel 30 David and his men had the town where they were staying burned and their wives taken captive. What we see is that, “David and the people who were with him lifted up their voices and wept, until they had no more power to weep.” (1 Sam. 30:4) The pain must be processed. You can’t deal with what you won’t admit and face. In this process forgiveness becomes a key. That may mean forgiving yourself.
2 – Understand God’s heart. “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” Psalm 51:17 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and is able to bring comfort and healing. We can look at many examples in scripture and see that He is the “God of the second chance.”
3 – Adopt a divine perspective. The following account reveals the importance of perspective. A Jewish girl taking care of her grandfather on plane trip. A Friend was impressed and envious of the treatment. The Jewish grandfather said, “The secret is my granddaughter believes I’m two generations removed from Abraham. Your granddaughter believes you are two generations removed from a monkey.”
In spite of all that Joesph received through his life, before becoming the Prime Minister of Egypt and and instrument of salvation for his family, he was able to tell his brothers who didn’t forget their abuse, “you intended it for evil, God intended it for good…”
4 – Have faith for the future. Our faith is strengthened when we replace lies of the past with God’s truth. Failures and pain can lead us to the wrong conclusion about others, ourselves and God. We need to rely on the truth of God’s Word to direct our thoughts and attitudes.
Our faith for the future requires surrender. Surrender is “letting go.” That may mean surrendering feelings of bitterness, despair or resentment.
We can have faith for the future because our pain, our past, does not determine our future. Be focused on the future. Be focused on dreams that are possible because God is with you to give you strength and wisdom. If there is one truth we can observe it is that, pain and failure are the pathway to success. So whatever you do keep moving forward, even if it is slowly.