I’ve recently bought a tape console for my computer so that I can play the boxes of cassette tapes I have in my loft. Not only will it play them, but it can also convert them to digital files to store on my computer or copy onto CD’s to play in the car. It’s been quite a trip down memory lane listening to music ranging from Genesis, to Dire Straights, to Queen, to Supertramp. And then some more unusual or less well know musicians like Bob James, Earl Klugh, Michelle Shocked & Basia. Some of them you may know (if you were in your teens and twenties in the 70’s & 80’s), some you won’t! But what you’ll know will bring back quite powerful memories.
It amazes me how evocative music can be. When I listen to a particular track I can often be transported back to a particular event or moment. The memories are usually comforting, though there are some that are painful. But what tends to happen is that I go back into that memory with rose tinted glasses on. The past often appears better, but I easily forget the difficulties, trials and tribulations I went through. I forget the times I often said I can’t wait till .. Now much of what I couldn’t wait till…, has happened.
I guess for me the lesson is two fold.
1) Don’t wish your life away by thinking things are going to be better when! But make the most of every situation you find yourself in.
2) Don’t look back and wish you could return to when things seemed so much better. They probably weren’t, but rejoice in what you learned from them.
Jesus’s disciples were at a point like this in the time after His death and resurrection. He told them to wait for the promised Holy Spirit who would equip them to carry on the work that He had begun. I imagine it would have been quite tempting for them to look back to their life before Jesus became so influential to them. In fact there was an occasion, recorded in John 21, where they went back to what some of them knew before “fishing” and as they were fishing they had a resurrection encounter with Him. But they were not to go back. They were to keep moving forward, to keep in step with what Jesus wanted to do in and through them. Their wait was rewarded at Pentecost (Whitsun) when the Holy Spirit empowered them to go out and witness to the love and power of Jesus Christ.
We likewise, although we think life is better when we look back, have to have the courage to keep looking forward and welcome the things that God wants to accomplish in and through us. Jesus wants an encounter with all of us – are we willing to look to Him. Put your hand in Jesus’s hand and trust Him for the new thing He wants to do in and through you!!
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!
(from The Holy Bible: New International Version. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, by International Bible Society)