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?
- Isaiah 43:18-19 NIV
Until recently, I was using a wonderful old pocketbook that I enjoyed for more than three years. I've always been fussy about my purses, and because of that, it's always been difficult for me to find ones that really suited my needs. The past year or so, my dependable old pocketbook was beginning to fade and look shabby. My husband began urging me to buy a new one. He'd say, "Don't you think it's about time that you put that old purse aside and got a new one?" He'd even help me look for one whenever we'd be out shopping. I made some half-hearted efforts to search for a new purse, just to quiet my husband. But the truth was that I was satisfied and comfortable with my old purse, and my heart just wasn't in replacing it. A few weeks ago, I was at a family gathering, when I reached into my purse, and it literally fell apart in my hands. I became upset, and handed it to my husband, demanding that he fix it immediately. I silently pleaded with God to make a way for my beloved purse to be restored. Then came the bad news. "This purse can't be repaired. You're just going to have to buy a new one," my husband said. I was heartbroken. Didn't he know how hard it would be for me to replace that purse? Didn't he know how much that purse meant to me, and all that I had invested in it? I finally realized that I had no choice but to start searching for a new purse in earnest. At first, I was totally resistant to the idea, but after I prayed and committed the matter to the Lord, I was able to let go of my stubbornness and disappointment. That's when God led me to a wonderful new purse that turned out to be even better than my old one. And everyday, I thank Him for my new purse, and for allowing my old one to be beyond repair, so that I could receive the new one He had waiting for me.
The Lord used this experience to teach me some valuable lessons. I learned once again that even though God may have wonderful new experiences and blessings up ahead for us, we will never be able to receive them until we let go of some of the things we are clinging to in the present. The Bible says: "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?" (Isaiah 43:18-19 NIV) I like the way the Living Bible says: "Forget all that--it is nothing compared to what I'm going to do!" Our God is a God of progress and improvement. When He is prodding us to let go of something, you can bet it's because He has something better for us waiting up ahead. Those of you who have walked with the Lord for many years know from personal experience how true this is. Because letting go of things we feel comfortable with can be a painful process, we often put it off until something happens to force us to let go. Then we panic and feel lost and forsaken. If we will look at these endings as new beginnings, we will open the door for God to do something new and wonderful in our lives. It all begins with committing everything we have, and all that we are, to the Lord each day, asking Him to give us the wisdom and strength we need to follow His perfect will, even when it means letting go of something we are desperately holding on to. The apostle Paul wrote--"But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 3:13-14 NASB) Paul knew that his Lord was always calling him "upward," not downward. He knew that whenever God asked him to leave something behind, it was for his own good, as well as for the Lord's glory. And because of this apostle's willingness to make God-inspired sacrifices, he was mightily used of God. My prayer for you today is that you won't shy away from letting go of the things in your life that would keep you from God's best, but that you'll do whatever it takes to receive all the good things He has in store for you!
Prayer: Lord, please reveal to me how this message might apply to my life today. Help me to make way for the new things You want to do in my life, by letting go of the old things You want me to leave behind. I want to receive all the good things You have in store for me, and I want to be mightily used by You. Thank You that as I "forget the former things," You'll do new and wonderful things in my life!
- J. M. Farro