FORGETTING THOSE THINGS WHICH ARE BEHIND!
There are two things that usually bring the Christian down: they are : REMORSE OVER THE PAST, AND WORRY OVER THE FUTURE; and God’s word forbids from doing EITHER. What has happened till now is past and there is little we can do to undo it. It is what men term as ‘water under the bridge’.
But for the Christian there is always hope no matter how bad his/her past may have been. The Apostle’s admonition is – “forgetting those things WHICH ARE BEHIND, and reaching forth unto those things WHICH ARE BEFORE”! [Phil 3:13] Now this is easily said than done. Memories of the past constantly haunt us and the results of our past mistakes most often stare us in the face. And if we were without God like most the worldly people the future would be pretty bleak. But we have a God who is SOVEREIGN and with whom ALL THINGS are possible.
Our God can and does overrule any mistake or sins of our past for His glory! In the Old Testament the Lord told His people- “I will RESTORE to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you. And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and my people shall never be ashamed. And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the LORD your God, and none else: and MY PEOPLE SHALL NEVER BE ASHAMED.”! [Joel 2:25]
Now ponder the above verse very prayerfully! God says He can and will restore what you think may hopelessly be lost, and in the end you will never be ashamed.
This is one of the amazing things about God. He can take our broken dreams and make a miracle out of our lives.
The more we learn how sovereign our God is, the more we can be assured that He is in COMPLETE CONTROL of all that has transpired in our lives. If you are a Christian, then you know that God did not spare His only begotten Son to save you. Now THAT is the ultimate expression of love. One may sacrifice their child to save a FRIEND, but only God sacrificed His Son to save His ENEMIES. “For if, when WE WERE ENEMIES, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life”! [Rom 5:10]
Seeing that He has given His well beloved to save our wretched souls, will He now trick or trap us into ruin? “Oh but I brought all this on myself by MY OWN wrong decisions”! In a certain sense this is true, but in a deeper sense it is God who has been guiding you in all the decisions you have made! “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps”! [Prov 16:9]. Again, “A Man’s goings are OF THE LORD; how can a man then understand his own way”? [Prov 20:24]
The Patriarch Job was so established and confident of God’s ‘Absolute Sovereignty’ that in spite of all the evil that befell him, he could confidently affirm – “But HE KNOWETH the way that I take: when He hath tried me, I shall COME FORTH AS GOLD”! [Job 23:10]
One thing that I have learnt during these twenty six years as a Christian is that the Lord is sovereignly overruling ALL OUR DECISIONS for His glory and for our ultimate good! Unless we grasp this amazing truth, we shall be miserable in this vale of tears. ”The misfortunes and adversities of life, so called, assume a different color when we look at them through this glass of Absolute Predestination. It is sad to hear people trying to live over their lives again and saying to themselves: ‘IF I had chosen a different profession,’ ‘IF I had taken a different turning of the road,’ ‘IF I had married another person.’ Etc. All this is weak and unChristian. The web of destiny we have woven, in a sense, with our own hands, and yet God had His part in it. It is GOD’S PART in it, and not our part, that gives us faith and hope.” [Clarence E. Macartney]
Dearly Beloved, this doctrine of Absolute Sovereignty is not a novelty amongst God’s people, but is as old as the Bible itself. This is what made Joseph affirm to his brethren, “ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good”! [Gen 50:20]. Knowledge of this doctrine is what made David say concerning Shimei when he cursed David, “let him curse, because the LORD hath said unto him, Curse David. Who shall then say, Wherefore hast thou done so”? [1Sam 16:10]. Finally when Judas would betray our Master, the Lord does not entreat him to repent, but rather says, “That thou doest, do quickly”! [Jn 13:27].
If a sparrow falleth not to the ground without the Father and if the hairs of our head are all numbered, then rest assured that ALL THINGS that transpire in the life of the believer are working together for his/her good. He began this good work in us and He alone will one day finish it and to Him alone will be all the Glory!
“The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also finish it; and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it! Not by might, nor by power, but by My spirit, saith the LORD of hosts”! [Zech 4;6-8]
“Beloved, I would encourage you to constantly remind yourself of the Scripture where the Psalmist says that – “He (God) led them forth by the RIGHT WAY that they might go to a city of habitation.” Is that not amazing? For we read that “they (the Israelites) WANDERED:” and that their wanderings were in a “WILDERNESS,” where there were no TRACKED PATHS? And we read that it was “a solitary way”? How, then, could it be “a RIGHT WAY,” where there was no way at all? Yet the Spirit of God says, that it WAS the “right way.” Reason, sense, and nature, have to hold their peace. Because, nature never can understand how a way of trouble, of temptation, of exercise, of sorrow, of perplexity can be the right way. But GOD NEVER MEANT NATURE, SENSE, AND REASON TO UNDERSTAND IT. The Lord gives faith to His dear people, that His dealings may be believed in, not reasoned upon; and He raises up this precious gift of the Spirit in their soul, not that they may confer with nature, sense, and reason, but that they may believe His own testimony in their heart and conscience. For this reason God leads His people by such paths as are directly contrary to nature, sense, and reason, in order to baffle them!
By faith, then, only can we understand how it is “a right way.” And when faith is in exercise, then it is known to be “a right way.” Our losses, our crosses, our trials in providence, our afflictions of body, our perplexities of mind, our sorrows of heart, – all are then to us “a right way.” ‘Once,’ you say, ‘they were a labyrinth: I could not find my way through them: they were an enigma, which I could not unravel. But soon you will see that those things, which so puzzled, perplexed, and tried me, led to your greatest blessings. I could not,’ you will say, ‘see the hand of the Lord at THAT TIME: but how plainly do I see it NOW? In that painful dispensation, that agony of soul, that trouble of mind, that distressing path, how plainly do I see NOW that the Lord’s hand was leading me”! [J.C. Philpot]
And the Lord is not done yet, Beloved! He will CONTINUE to lead you and ultimately bring you into your desired haven!
He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still. Then are they glad because they be quiet; so He bringeth them unto their DESIRED HAVEN. Oh that men would praise the LORD for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men! [Psa 107:29-31]
P.S. If I could, would I go back and change anything in my life? Trust me, actually NO! This path which He has brought me through is the BEST for me. For had there been a better path, HE who loved me enough to die for me would have brought me that way! Hallelujah!