Isaiah 52:12 Yet do not depart quickly or leave in a panic. For the Lord goes before you; the God of Israel is your rear guard.
“You shall not go out with haste….” As we go forth into the coming year, let it not be in the haste of impetuous, forgetful delight, nor with the quickness of impulsive thoughtlessness. But let us go out with the patient power of knowing that the God of Israel will go before us. Our yesterdays hold broken and irreversible things for us. It is true that we have lost opportunities that will never return, but God can transform this destructive anxiety into a constructive thoughtfulness for the future. Let the past rest, but let it rest in the sweet embrace of Christ. Leave the broken, irreversible past in His hands, and step out into the invincible future with Him.” – O. Chambers
My biggest challenge is self will. I want, what I want, and I want it now. I want to be relieved from the bondage of my sinful past, right now. I want to be completely healed from addiction, right now. I want to immediately handle all life’s challenges. I want to be rid of my destructive past, for good. I want to forget; my gut is impetuous; my first thoughts are selfish.
But God’s very nature provides a different, slower solution. It is true that my past conduct produced broken and irreversible consequences. I have lost opportunities and lived a good portion of my life in darkness and deceit. But God has not forsaken me. He is slow to anger and quick to love.
He can transform the destructive anxiety aroused from my dark past into a constructive thoughtfulness of the future. I do not need to be paralysed and inactive. I do need to let the past rest in His capable hands. I need to be patient and watchful for His direction. I need to walk into 2019 with the patient power of knowing that God will go before me. My daily prayer will be to “leave the broken, irreversible past in His hands, and step out into the invincible future with him.” There is no need to fear, I don’t need to “leave [my past] in a panic” because God leads me, and He also has my back. “For the Lord goes before you; the God of Israel is your rear guard.” Is 52:12 b
In His presence is fullness of joy . . .
I’m still figuring this one out and think it is one of those life long learning opportunities.
Sometimes I feel like I’m addicted to everything. I use stuff to avoid my emotions, especially the strong ones. I hide from fear with food. I suppress anger with gambling. For resentment or stress, there is acting out sexually. Sometimes I find myself even trying to ignore feelings of deep joy.
My counselor is helping me to understand myself. I’m in the middle of a formal presses of full disclosure to my wife about my acting out sexually. Talk about strong emotions. I was suggesting that I just have a beer before or after the upcoming session where I will be telling my wife the nitty gritty of my past. The counselor smiled, like she does, and said I don’t want you to drink before the session and I’d prefer you sit with your emotions after. WTF does sit with my emotions mean? We talked it through. Emotions won’t kill me; they are not good nor bad. They just are.
So for the second time today I sat – we’ve got this great new chair that is perfect for this – through my emotions. Funny thing, today I felt a rush of an emotion that I identify as full joy. I was thinking about a couple. They are some of my best friends. We have cycled across the country together. Tomorrow is Steve’s birthday. Tears ran to the corners of my eyes and down my cheeks. My breaths were deep like the ocean. Complete gladness welled up inside me. And I sat there. Before, I think I would have tried to shake the feeling off, like there was a spider on my hand. Instead, I sat with my own feeling and bathed in the joy. I was surrounded by water that was soothingly warm and my muscles relaxed. It was refreshingly cool and exhilarating at the same moment.
This is another example where I’ve come to believe, “Above all, trust in the slow work of God . . . Only God [can] say what this new spirit gradually forming within you will be. Give our Lord the benefit of believing that his hand is leading you, and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself in suspense and incomplete.” Pierre Teilhard de Chardin SJ
Grace and peace to you in Christ who gives mercy sufficient for today,