(E/A, I hope you are reading this!)
“Jesus did not promise to change the circumstances around us. He promised great peace and pure joy to those who would learn to believe that God actually controls all things.” – Corrie Ten Boom
This is an immensely powerful statement, coming from a woman whose entire family died in a Nazi concentration camp, and who almost died there herself. Could I find the Joy she speaks of if I were put in her circumstance? Could you? We can’t achieve either true Peace or Joy on our own, without JESUS – Giver of the Peace that passes understanding….
“Then you will experience God’s Peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His Peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:7 NLT
When we spend our time looking back, holding on to the sorrows of our past, we can’t obtain the Joy or Peace Jesus is offering us, because our eyes are clouded over by the regrets. There is a time to mourn for what was and what could have been. People are gone in the space of a heartbeat, and whether they are an unborn baby or the most elderly person, or anyone in between, it hurts when they are gone. I find that many of us romanticize the loss. With babies, it’s especially hard, I think, because of the lost potential, and the lost love. Now, with tbe LORD at my side, I can finally rejoice over the losses of babies in my family and my friends, along with the countless billions who have been murdered through violence, abortion, and disease. How, you ask? Two reasons:
1. Those babies don’t have to grow up in the flawed, sinful world (HALLELUJAH!), and
2. I will see them and hold them in heaven – we get to spend eternity with them! How cool is that?
All of the regrets and what ifs and could haves and should haves will never change the past. It is past, over with, passed through, gone. DONE. Remembering can be good when done in a positive manner. When we lose a spouse or other loved one as an adult, it’s easy to only remember the good, even though we know the flaws. There is absolutely nothing wrong with remembering. The “wrong,” if you will, is in dwelling in the past and wallowing in self pity for all that was lost. I can play “coulda shoulda” with the best, but to what end? Satan loves it when we start the game! Next to suicide, that wallowing is most damaging to our families and our friends. It’s SELFISH to the extreme, shutting everyone out and dragging them down at the same time. I have done it myself, and I have experienced it in people I care about.
God doesn’t want us mired in the gunk of the past. God LOVES us! He wants to give us JOY, and He wants us to have PEACE. He is the Rock we can cling to when the storms of life threaten to sweep us up and drown us. His Arms are the ones that hold us when we hurt, and He is the One Who carries us when we can’t go on. It isn’t easy to let go of the past; the shoulda coulda’s. With prayer – i.e. just TALK to God – and immersion in His Word, with counseling by a pastor or other Christian professional, and a doctor to help us with medicines if needed, we can emerge from the muck and gunk Satan has buried us in. All you need to do is lean into the LORD. Talk to Him first, before spewing your guts to someone (again, I’m guilty of all this, too!) If you don’t know what prayer, just say JESUS. Cry out to Him. He knows.
Listen to “Live Like You’re Loved” by Hawk Nelson, and read “Finding Joy in the Heartache” devotion by K-Love radio Pastor David (10 March 2018.)