Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Isaiah 43:18-19
I’m not sure I have ever been as glad to start a new year as I have been this year. Even though I know that a change in the calendar date won’t magically fix all that is wrong in the world, I am excited for a new beginning.
Fresh starts mean that I can leave what happened in the past behind me and look forward to what lies ahead. It’s important to learn from the past but dwelling on the hurtful and difficult parts of our past can paralyze us and prevent us from moving ahead.
When I was going through a particularly difficult season of my life, the Lord led me to the story of the disabled man by the pool. (John 5:1-18) He had been disabled for 38 years. He and other blind, lame and paralyzed people would lie by the pool, hoping to get into the water to be healed. When Jesus saw him and learned that he had this condition for a long time he said something very unexpected. He said “Do you want to get well?”. I always thought that was a strange question for Jesus to ask. And it seemed a little inconsiderate. Of course he wanted to get well! He was miserable and had been for 38 years!
Instead of responding to Jesus’ questions with an emphatic ‘yes’, the man gave reasons for not being healed. “No one will help me into the pool.” “When I try to get in, everyone just gets in front of me.” That’s when the Lord showed me that I was just like that man.
Deep down I wanted to be healed from the hurt that I was holding on to. But, instead I gave excuses as to why I was not healed. And if I was honest, I was scared to move on. I was afraid that the healing would be more painful than the hurt I had already experienced. In some strange way, I had become comfortable in my current state of hurt. Now Jesus’ question of “Do you want to get well?” didn’t seem so strange. Now the Lord was asking me that very question.
I had a choice to make. I could either stay in the state of hurt, anger, and bitterness that I was in or I could say yes, I want to be healed. Even if it meant being uncomfortable, walking the difficult road of healing, and being shown the parts in me that weren’t so pretty.
God doesn’t want us to live a life filled with all the junk that happened to us in the past. If we will allow him, he will take it from us, cleanse us, and lead us into a brand new, exciting future. He will do a new thing!!
If you are struggling right now with past hurts, let me ask you the difficult question. Do you want to get well? As soon as you are ready, Jesus is right there to walk with you through that journey of healing. I can’t promise you that it will be easy, but I can promise you that it will be worth it!
Dear Lord, thank you for new beginnings! Help us leave the past in the past and to look to the ‘new thing’ that you are going to do with anticipation and excitement. Give us the courage to say yes to healing knowing that you will walk through the journey with us each step of the way. In Jesus’ name, Amen.