"This is what the LORD says— he who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters, "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland." Isaiah 43:16,18-19
In Disney's movie of The Lion King, there is a part where Simba is talking with Rafiki(the monkey) about going back to Pride Rock to take his place as king. Simba is talking about how he didn't know if he could face all the other lions with his bad past. Rafiki suddenly grabs his stick and whacks Simba over the head with it. Angry, Simba asks "what did you do that for?" To which Rafiki laughs and replies "it doesn't matter, it's in the past."
These verses in Isaiah today are absolutely perfect for this morning, as today is the last day of 2008. I love the excitement of a new year. A new year means a new beginning, and that's always an opportunity to take up something new or correct a behavior, or...just do something new! But often times, people approach the new year with something other than anticipation or excitement, rather, they approach it with regret. Regret can be a dangerous enemy, because it can keep us from moving forward. We get so focused on the past and what we did wrong that we forget to look forward to see what's right in front of us. Right here in Isaiah though, we see exactly what we need to do- we need to not dwell on the past. Because, really, what good does it do to dwell on the past? We can't go back and change a thing, all we can do is change what we are doing today, and change what we can be tomorrow. We can't change the past.
Do I have regrets about this past year? I do have some, none that I will go into detail on, but I can say that if I focused on the regrets I do have, it would consume me and make me a very bitter and depressed person. Really. I handled a few situations poorly this year, we made some changes in our lives, that while we're happy with the changes, wish we'd have made them sooner. And there are other things... but you know, I also know that the things that we experienced in our past were part of what helped shape me into the person I am today. Each and every day I am learning to be more and more like Jesus, and because of what Jesus did for me over 200o years ago, I don't have to dwell on or worry about what is in the past. Today I am a new person, and I cannot wait to see what new things God has in store for me in 2009!
Because He's going to do something. :) It says right here in Isaiah that he is doing a new thing, and I am so ready for it. I am ready for whatever it is He wants from me, but I can't do it if I am so focused on my past. Instead, I choose to let the past go, I choose to let 2008 close, and open 2009 with a fresh, new slate, full of new opportunity and new chances to share God's love with those around us.
I choose to let the past stay in the past, because it doesn't matter, it's in the past. I choose to look forward, and look up, so I don't miss what's coming at me.