Day 2 – Plans, Hopes, and Dreams for 2021
“Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14, ESV).
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousnesss” (1 John 1:9, ESV).
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2-4, ESV).
“What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:9, ESV).
The older I get, the more of my life is behind me instead of before me. I could share so many memories that would tell of personal trials and tragedy—some terribly painful. Looking behind me, I see betrayal, regret, mistakes, failures and lots of my own stories of sin. But here I am today, fifty and living in light of His forgiveness and glorious grace. Behind me are the details and events that shaped me into the woman I am today. I am not who I once was, and I’m still not the woman I will be. Why? Because life will continue to challenge and change me.
Have you ever met someone who lives in their past? War vets come to mind—horrors have them trapped in their past, and they seem unable to move forward to a place of peace and acceptance. The events of those years spent on battlefields hold them captive, and without being set free, they never make real progress emotionally. I can’t pretend to understand, because I’ve never experienced what they have, thanks be to God.
I also know some who have turned to liquor or drugs, desperate to numb their minds from past mistakes. Family abuse, murder, financial ruin, sexual betrayal, or the loss of someone they deeply loved led them down a path of trying to forget. And yet they never do forget; they only try to suppress the memories by quieting them for a time.
What’s behind you? Are there failures and mistakes that keep you from moving forward? Do you find yourself wishing to change your past and feeling discouraged that it isn’t possible to do so? Friends, the past is good for one thing: learning from it. And while the past can’t be changed, the great news is this: you can be! We cannot fulfill the plans and purposes God has for us until we embrace the present and open our hearts to His voice. If you’re still alive, then He isn’t finished with you yet.
Today is a new day, and we have a whole new year stretching out before us. In it are opportunities for you—just you! God will open doors for you if you’ll trust Him and walk forward. Don’t be like Lot’s wife who escaped from a life surrounded by evil and sin, then lost her life looking behind her instead of trusting where God was leading her. Deal with your past, taking extreme care to heal and move forward in confidence. If you need help to do so, find help. Life is short, but it’s brimming with spiritual opportunities—don’t miss out because you’re looking behind you rather than seeing this moment and all that’s ahead of you. Trust that God has a good plan for you, and allow your life to be a willing sacrifice for the One who gave His all to redeem and rescue you.