The Upper Room devotional reflection for Thursday, May 12, 2022 comes to us from Victoria Walsh of Montana.
16 This is what the Lord says- he who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters, 17 who drew out the chariots and horses, the army and reinforcements together, and they lay there, never to rise again, extinguished, snuffed out like a wick: 18 "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. 19 See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. 20 The wild animals honor me, the jackals and the owls, because I provide water in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland, to give drink to my people, my chosen, 21 the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise. Isaiah 43:16-21 NIV
“I am here, not there”
While straightening up a few bottles and jars on my bathroom counter one morning, I found myself lost in a memory of a bathroom in an apartment I had rented when I was young. It wasn’t a happy memory, and my mood started sinking. But then I said to myself, “I’m not there, thank God.” And the memory evaporated, to my great relief.
For a long time, I fought a losing battle with bad memories. They entered my mind like a train I couldn’t stop. Once they were there, I was caught up in a vortex, wrestling disturbing emotions, overanalyzing, and futilely trying to redo events.
But lately the Lord has been showing me simple ways to give these intrusions to God. Just saying something like, “Thank you, Jesus, that I’m here and not there,” or “Praise you that my life is so much better now, God,” stops the memory and brings me back to the present. After so many years of struggle, I’m amazed and delighted to be able to replace the bad memories of the past with God’s refreshing love and blessings in my life today. I am reminded that the Lord has set me free (see Jn. 8:36)
Like most parents, whenever my sons struggle with something, I wonder if I could have been a better parent. When I make mistakes”, I get stuck in the “what if I had …” or “if I had only done this or that,” I can find myself feeling like Viktoria Walsh describes.
Sometimes events from our past can become burdens that haunt us. But Viktoria Walsh calls us to remember that God has called us to remember that we are “here, not there”. Can you think of moments in your life that have become burdens? Try to remember to be grateful for being where you are, instead of where you were back then?
Dear God, thank you for helping us bear our burdens and for breathing new hope into us. Amen.
Those Burdened by Past Events.
Thought for the Day:
With God I can move beyond the negative memories that limit my life.