Lucy and I recently took off to the mountains for a few days to celebrate our anniversary. Just the two of us – away from church work and the normal day-to-day doings. One of those days we rode an hour over to Maggie Valley, where we had spent a wonderful week for our honeymoon. Were we surprised. We couldn’t find our previous hotel. Nothing looked the same. Even Ghost Town in the Sky was now a ghost town. How could everything change in 45 years? The one place we wanted to really visit was Joey’s Pancake House, where we hung out each morning in our previous visit. I spotted it from a long distance away. The parking lot was jammed and people were standing and sitting all over the front and side of the establishment. We arrived at 9am and found we had at least an hour and a half wait. We had arrived on the last day it would be open. The owner finally followed her doctor’s orders, two years after he advised her to shut down because of health issues. Guess who didn’t become temporary fixtures outside the restaurant? Guess who spent their time in Cherokee instead of Maggie Valley? It was just another reminder that you can’t go back and expect to recapture the past.
I’ve seen it at high school class reunions, where a good many suddenly transform before your very eyes and “POOF” they go from being a 50-year-old to an eighteen-year-old. It’s sickening and laughable at the same time. I’ve seen it in senior adults longing for the “good ole days” that are long gone and will never return. As an adult, I once took the time to return to the apartments my family lived at when I was 5. The memory of that fallen tree which became a favorite fort for my friends and I still lingered in my mind. What a disappointment was in store for me as I discovered the same tree – so puny and insignificant. I sure was hoping to climb in it again. NOT! You just can’t go back.
We must move on. How many people are there who can’t live today victoriously because they are holding on to the past? Is it a sin that you can’t forgive yourself for? When God forgives He also remembers that sin no more. He can help you forgive and let go of it like He does. Is it a hurt that someone has done against you? Oh, how I know the pain of that. But that person has long forgot it and that past action is ruining all the rest of your days. Let God help you forgive the person(s) so you can move into His victorious life for you. Are you overburdened with how you are not as close to the Lord today as you were in the past? Well, God didn’t move. Get on your knees seeking forgiveness, get your racing shoes on, and run toward Him with all you’ve got.
I leave the past behind and with hands outstretched to whatever lies ahead I go straight for the goal—my reward the honour of being called by God in Christ.
– Philippians 3:13b-14 (J.B. Philips Translation)
…let us strip off everything that hinders us, as well as the sin which dogs our feet, and let us run the race that we have to run with patience, our eyes fixed on Jesus the source and the goal of our faith.
– Hebrews 12:1b-2a (J.B. Phillips Translation)
God has so much for each of us that we’ve not experienced yet. Don’t get stuck in the past or even the present. Let’s all run the race with hands stretched out for whatever lies ahead in our journey with God.
– Pastor Steve