I've been memorizing Scripture this year over on my blog Steps, and the current verse I've been working on is:
Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.
Isaiah 43: 18-19
When I first read this, I focused on how God tells us not to look back, to not dwell on our past. And oh, can we do that, right? All our mistakes can really trip us up, to the point that we forget they are forgiven and we are redeemed. But we are the moment we ask God to forgive them! 1 John 1:9 says If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
And I do think this is a great way to look at the verse in Isaiah. It's a great nudge to look forward to your new life and stop staring in your rear view mirror at your old life.
However, this week I saw the verse in another light. Sometimes it's not that we can't hurdle our past, but that we cling to it. Sure, we may have been in bondage (think of how the Israelites WANTED to return to Egypt at one point--seriously, check out Numbers 14:1-4) but when that's all we know, when our bondage has become our comfort zone and our habit, then sometimes we don't want to let it go. We want to stay there.
But God is saying - FORGET it! Let it go and stop dwelling there because I'm doing a NEW thing here!
For a new thing to happen, you've got to let go of the old, otherwise it's just the same-ol-same-ol. Sure, it can be scary, but if we want to keep growing into who God has created us to be, we've got to let go of our grip on the familiar and cling to the new.
Because when God's in the new, it's something you won't want to miss.