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What is there when
the past is gone?
As we grow older we can often perceive patterns repeating themselves – recurring incidents and weaknesses that may be telling us a story. This is true in church life, in nations, in relationship dynamics – and in our own lives too. If we were able to isolate some of these weaknesses, and the things that grip our minds and see them reflected in a clear lake we might be tempted to recoil in horror from some of them. The reflection appears so sullied. ‘That isn’t fair;’ we protest. ‘That isn’t how it really was!’ ‘There are perfectly good reasons why I did that!’ But the reflection doesn’t lie, even if at times, like our memories, it becomes somewhat distorted. Have you the courage to gaze a while longer to observe our real tendencies and foibles, as well as our strengths and achievements. Let’s see what the lake is really reflecting and make any changes that need making!
|Charley Brown, of Peanuts fame once famously asked, ‘Where do you go when you want to give up?’ When he cried out on another occasion, ‘Where did I go wrong?’ he was told, ‘This is going to take more than one day to answer that one!’|
‘Does that mean I am I doomed to repeat these same old mistakes until I am old and gray?’ you cry. ‘By all means,’ growls the rumble of distant thunder, as our ‘father below’ stamps his feet with fiendish glee. ‘Until all hope is gone, all friendships fade and all fire fizzles out!’
|‘By no means,’ ripostes the voice of faith. ‘The fact that I have come a-cropper more times than I care to recall merely proves the point: the Lord is determined to establish a better crop. However long it takes Him, He will not give up on me.’|
‘You – you haven’t got what it takes,’
snorts the fire-breathing one. ‘You’d rather be a hammer than a nail.’
‘I agree. If I’m honest, everything inside me shrinks from the hammer blow. But if that’s what it takes to curb dishonesty and to cure my waywardness, then I will do my best to welcome it. However long it takes, and however hard the path, the Lord will get me through.’
‘Hell!’ rants the devil, half blind with rage. ‘What a smug thing sanctification is. It stings my eyes and stenches my heart. If I don’t come up with some with some dastardly decoy now it will sound the death knell to all my plans. What a charming closhing peel will ring out when I reduce this pestilential soul to despair. Let’s start the dark bells ringing now!’
Suddenly the soul fills with pitch-black sounds. Deep in our hearts yet far out of sight (for our wily foe knows to conceal his part in this battle royal for the soul) crash the bells of oblivion. ‘You’ve made such a mess of things! You’re the ultimate fiasco failure. God can’t use you any more.’ Henchman Giant Despair makes his grand entrance, and then tiptoes away to leave us to leave us to draw our sad and sorry conclusions. Surprise, surprise, they seem to match his doom-tipped suggestions more or less word for word and peel for resounding peel. ‘“What a mess I've made of things: I'll never amount to anything much!"
Lord, help me to step off the conveyer belt and to resist the knelling bells. I resolve by Your strength to walk past the honey trap and every other pit our doomed and twisted foe sets in front of me. He has twisted strands from my past into whips with which to flay my soul. He is telling me it is all over precisely because he recognises some new and deeper work stirring even now beneath the well-tilled earth. He knows it means pain and misery to him as surely as it spells peace and glory from Heaven’s richer perspective.
I know which fruit I would rather have in the garden of new beginnings. God hears the cries of our heart – especially when they are directed towards Him, rather than against our circumstances. So long as there is life there is hope, and the chance to start anew. The Lord will open many new doors for you, just because we refuse to take ourselves off the job.
Ponder these encouraging words:
I will supply you with a fresh
supply of adventures of the heart
This material, including the photograph, is copyright Robert Weston 2007. It
may be freely copied or forwarded for the benefit of individuals or house
groups, provided the source is attributed.
If you enjoyed this article, the following are amongst the Pilgrim Guides available via our website www.ruachministries.org:
Herald and Prophet: The Ministry of John the Baptist
The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit
Out Front: For Leaders and Prospective Leaders
Fit for Purpose and Filled with the Spirit
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