Life changes. Things happen that push us into different seasons. For better or worse, the only option we have is to embrace the new seasons.
Recently a friend and I were discussing how much we have changed for the better over the last decade. The old George, I exclaimed, I don’t want to go back to that guy. Her reply… “You can’t!”
My first comment was, “yes, you can!” But then, she started to talk through the story in the bible found in Exodus 14, where the Israelites cross the Red Sea, as God makes a way and then closes it behind them. The revelation God gave her through those passages in the bible, helped her see she had no options to go back to who she used to be. As with the Israelites, the way closed behind that season, and she stepped into a new one. As we talked through it, I was like, “that’s good.”
The next 24 hours after the conversation, I started to replay the past decade and its outcomes.
The question… Why would we want to go back?
In some cases, past seasons can look better or look less challenging than the one we are in today. So if we are up against the wall, we might reflect and say, that was so much easier then. Another ‘why’ might be fear of the unknown, which paralyzes us into submission, pushing us back to wanting the safety of the known.
It is the realization that many of the Israelites had. When things became difficult, their first reaction was to go back to what they knew. Let me ask you a hard question, as you have had to wait longer than you thought for a future mate, does that old life, guy or girl look more appealing?
As the Israelites distanced themselves from Egypt, they romanticized being there. They thought it was better than it was. Why? Because they knew what to expect and didn’t need to trust anything other than being conformed to slavery. There wasn’t any risk or courage required. It was what they knew, and they didn’t have to face any giants ahead.
Living in the past will always ruin any opportunity for future promises.
If you read the full story in Exodus, most who left Egypt, including Moses, never entered into the promise land. The handful of people who experienced both Egypt and the promise land were the ones who forgot the past and had confidence in God’s promise. As they moved forward, even though they could not see it and the battle looked fierce, their faith was strengthened from the journey of the wilderness, which gave them confidence that God would win the battles ahead.
I love it when I watch those around me look beyond past battles and failures, and see all the opportunities to take hold of, in faith, future victories. I want to surround myself with those people.
As I continued to ponder my friend’s words “You Can’t Go Back…”, I realize she is right. I can’t go back to the old man, but if I am not careful, I can let him ride along with the new George and never experience all that God has for me in this life.
If we choose not to let go of the past or we fear future failures (or battles), we will not be able to live in the NEXT God has for us.
We have to choose to step into the promise land for our NEXT season.
Sometimes, the details (the giants) or us trying to figure out the details will overwhelm the faith of what God has already done. Like the Israelites, even after seeing God do some amazing things, we can fear moving forward without an exact plan. That’s where our faith is expanded. God is trying to grow our faith as we trust in him to win the battles ahead and claim the victories. It has been said that something that hasn’t been tested can’t be trusted.
I love the verse “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here!” 2 Corinthians 5:17. To live in that “new creation,” we have to forget the past and leave it there. We have to embrace the unknown, and allow the details of the things ahead, to be worked out by God. It is worked out, as we go, and not as we wait. Sometimes, the failure to go may cost us our promise.
I want to challenge you today, while the door is closed to your past, don’t allow it to highjack a ride with you into your future. Be bold, pray, then step out having confidence that God is with you. Ultimately, the best is yet to come as God has set heaven in our hearts!