Ghosts of the past - dreams of the future
It can be sad to reminisce about the way things used to be. When we enter into a time of remembering, we often come to a place of grieving. We remember those places and faces of yesteryear and weep. The good old days at the local skating rink, movie theatre, and YMCA are distant memories and so we feel a strong connection and loss.
Often, when a new thing comes along, we'll compare it to that which we had years before and decide the new doesn't hold a candle to the old. (Except if you're talking about a Model T versus a Mustang GT350....)
I'll probably never own either of these vehicles but wouldn't mind having both sitting in my garage. The Mustang would be the more practical car to own in this day and age. (As I watch cars and trucks fly up and down 322.) In all fairness, the Model T was the car of its day and brought ease of travel to many. The horse salepeople didn't like the new-fangled car so much though!
Except, we aren't talking about automobiles. (or horses)
Yesterday, I walked around our town and prayed. I prayed for a moving of God's hand throughout our residential sections, throughout our businesses and organizations. I walked past vacant buildings; some were for sale and others for lease. Some building looked as though a bulldozer would be a good remodeling plan. An area of one of our main streets is boarded up and demolition is commencing. Something new will emerge and some will grouse while others will celebrate.
I have heard the stories of how our town was once a boom town and the place to be. Then the flood of 1972 changed all of that. Businesses wiped out by the flood decided to move elsewhere. What once blossomed and flourished now carries with it a blight of something that occurred 44 years ago. Our town is a ghost of what it once was.
In my short time as pastor, I have walked beside many folks who live in the past. People who have come to my office to seek help not only live in the past but they are stuck there. They are spinning in a circle of demoralization and pain. The past grips them tightly and escape from this cycle of dysfunction appears to be futile. Considering new possibilities and areas of growth often get cast aside. Pain can often cloud one's vision. Other times, it is more safe and comfortable to remain stuck in a place of numbness in the past. Staying in the past keeps us from facing some painful things we should address. Staying in the painful past gives us a free pass for bad behaviors and surly personalities. Moving forward will require courage and great dependence upon God.
God makes all things new. He has made you and me new. We were never going to enter into a holy relationship with God in our past sins and evil hearts. God made a way forward when we had exhausted all our strugglings to get free of sin. Jesus Christ is the maker of new paths, new possibilities, and new hope. Can you see it? Do you perceive it? Have you welcomed Jesus into your pain and loss?
Sadly, when we live in the past, we lower our eyes to 'future possibilities'. God beckons us forward. Perhaps Jesus is knocking on the door of your heart right now. If you hear knocking, open the door and peer into the face of one who is past, present, and future. Whether we're talking cars, towns, or lives. God goes ahead of us preparing our way for new things, new relationships, and new adventures. Let go and...