Here we are again–starting another brand new year. One of the first verses that came to my mind when I woke up this morning to start off this brand new year of 2023 is found in Isaiah 43:18-19:
Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I [God] am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.
What I’ve discovered over the past dozen years is that it is often very hard to stop dwelling on and remembering the “formers things,” especially those things that dramatically changed my life from that point on. And it’s often hard to recognize that God is doing new things in our lives in spite of those things we find hard to forget.
As I started writing this blog post, I discovered that I had already written a blog post titled, “All Things New,” back on March 9, 2019. Back then I was still living in a hotel room, and my father was still alive, but he died three months later on June 22, 2019. There have been a couple of significant changes since I wrote that blog post (Dad’s death being one of them), but another big change was that my hotel room living days finally ended six years to the day from when they first started back in the fall of 2014. I found an apartment to rent in October 2020, but it was not in an income-based senior apartment complex that I had spent six years looking for and that I never found. Instead, it is in an all-ages apartment complex where I am currently living.
As I read through that blog post that I published back in March 2019, I could feel just how hard it is to “forget the former things” when they have had such an enormous impact on my life. It took me a year to adjust to my new living environment in an apartment complex in a very different area of the city from living in very small hotel room in a very different neighborhood for several years. Also, I moved into an empty apartment with nothing more then what I had with me in the hotel room since I lost all my furniture back in 2009 after I lost my job back then. It took me the first six months living in my apartment to get the furniture that I needed to furnish it.
A lot has happened since 2009, and most of the main points I wrote about in that blog post I published back in March 2019. Rereading that post today on the very first day of a brand new year almost four years later has left me with mixed feelings. I wish it was easier to “forget the former things.”
In a weekly devotion published on Hebrews12Endurance.com titled, “Forget the Former Things” (author’s name is not mentioned), the author states the following:
Isaiah 43 talks about the Redeemer of Israel. Though Israel had been disobedient and had served idols, God wanted them to know He was their Redeemer. They were thrice His. First, because He created them, then because He had formed them and given them a shape, and thirdly because He had reclaimed them from where they had been exiled.
“Forget the former things,” God said, “don’t dwell on the past. I’m going to do something new.” Isaiah 43:18-19. For the people of that time, God was letting them know that His power was not limited to things He had done in the past. Rather, He would do new and wonderful things in the future.
My friend, that message is applicable to us today. Many times we live as though God has already extended the fulness of His power and is not capable of doing the impossible in our lives. We act as though He can’t still work miracles. But God is a God of the impossible. He’s not limited by what He has done in the past or by our imagination.
Forget the former things. Behold, He’s doing a new thing, can you not see it? Ask Him to open your eyes so you can experience His power.
Prayer: Father, forgive me for thinking You are limited to the miracles of the past. Open my eyes to the wonderful things You’re doing even now. I know You’re doing new things and making paths in places where it seemed impossible. Thank You for what You’ve done in the past and what You will do in the future. In Jesus’s name, I pray, Amen. (Quote source here.)
In a devotion titled, “Don’t Dwell on the Past,” by J. M. Farro, devotional author and staff member at JFH.com, she writes about a personal experience regarding the home she grew up in that had been in the family for 50 years, but it was now being sold, and how the memories of all those years brought “waves of sorrow” over her that affected her both physically and emotionally. She mentions how God gave her confirmation that dwelling on the past would only do her harm physically and emotionally. She ended her devotion with the following:
God commands His people in the Scriptures, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.” (Isaiah 43:18 NIV) Why is the Lord against us dwelling on the past? Because doing so can cause us to get stuck where we are. When our focus is on the past, it’s too easy for us to feel sorry for ourselves. Or to focus on our regrets. Or to think that our best days are behind us. Worst of all, dwelling on our past can make us feel unthankful for all of the blessings in our lives, especially the blessings we have in the present.
In the next verse of this passage of Scripture, God goes on to say, “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” (Isaiah 43:19 NIV) If we put these two verses together, we see that the Lord wants us to resist dwelling on the past so that we can “perceive” the “new thing” He wants to do in our lives. He knows that if we are unreceptive to the brand-new things He’s about to do, then we might delay or prevent them from coming to pass. Don’t miss the excitement that is in the Lord’s voice within these verses. He knows that what He has in store for us is far better than anything we could imagine. The Living Bible translation bears this out when it says, “But forget all that–it is nothing compared to what I’m going to do!” (v. 18)
What is it in your past that you have been dwelling on? On behalf of the Lord, I urge you today–“Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? There it is!” (Isaiah 43:18-19 MSG)
Prayer: Lord, I don’t want to miss out on any of the wonderful plans You have for my life. Teach me how to resist dwelling on the past in ways that will cause me to get stuck. Show me how to constantly move forward into the better things You have for me up ahead. Guard me from self-pity, feelings of regret, and unthankfulness, and help me to maintain an attitude of gratitude at all times. Thank You that as I keep my eyes of faith open, I will be able to perceive the new things You have in store for me! (Quote source here.)
Part of the reason it has been hard for me to “forget the past” is because some of it is still linked to the present. While we can’t see the “bigger picture” that God sees, sometimes he gives us glimpses into it to help us with those things we don’t understand. After all, Isaiah 55:8-9 states:
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,
declares the Lord.
As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
In the second devotion above, J. M. Farro mentions that she kept dwelling on the past, even though it was causing her pain. And when she sought the Lord for wisdom, he gave her “clear confirmation in the matter, allowing her to suffer the natural consequences of her actions, so that she would be much more careful in the future about dwelling on the past in ways that could do her harm” (quote source here). As I read what she wrote, it really struck a chord with me regarding my dwelling on my past over the past dozen years.
Now that a brand new year is beginning to unfold starting with today, it is my desire to finally let go of the past, and to stop dwelling on it. It harms no one but me to dwell on it, and I only have responsibility over my own thoughts and actions, and not the actions of others.
Perhaps there is someone in my reading audience who is going through the same thing–not being able to totally let go of something in your past and move forward. If so, I hope this post has offered some encouragement for you (as it has to me, too) to finally let go of whatever it might be that you can’t seen to let go of, and to pray as J.M. Farro prayed–to keep our eyes of faith open, so we will be able to perceive the new things God has in store for us!
I’ll end this post with the words from Paul found in Philippians 3:13-14—Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
So, Forget the Past . . .
And Keep On . . .
YouTube Video: “All Things New” by Big Daddy Weave:
Sara, I have been following your posts for a few years now, and I love the honesty and frankness you share. You provided some great thoughts again. Thank you
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Thanks, Nick! It’s nice to see you are still active online (not that I didn’t think you weren’t). 🙂 Happy New Year… hard to believe it’s 2023. Wow. Seems like just yesterday I graduated from high school (1970)… LOL
Yeap. It has slipped by quite quickly. Actually, I no longer have my personal server, so all of my artwork has been lost on my blog. lol. Oh well. Amazingly, life has gone on. BTW, Class of 76 here! (Well, in honesty, it was 77. I believe they enjoyed me being there so much, they asked me to come back for one more year. Yeah, yeah. They claimed it was due to the Attendance Policy they had. It’s funny. They actually frowned on my absence. Huh? Who would have thought!)
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