Monday, March 10, 2014

Moving On

A wonderful woman and I lead a junior high girls small group in our church youth. The entire youth group has been going through a series about bringing offerings before the Lord. The theme verse is Deuteronomy 16:16b, "No one should appear before the Lord empty-handed." (NIV). The series encouraged the students to bring their sin, guilt, and tithe (if not money, then time and personal investment) to Jesus. 

For the final week in the series yesterday, instead of breaking off into small groups, the pastor set the microphone down and essentially had an open mic for any of the junior highers to open up to the peers about how the series spoke to them. It was awesome to see several junior high kids speak about how the Lord was speaking to them. Many spoke about what was holding them back from having a better relationship with God. 

Then I was convicted. What's been holding me back from God? What sin, guilt, and tithe have I not been bringing to Him? The answer: my hurts from past people. I almost daily remind myself of how someone has hurt me and how many of my friends have just forgotten me. I feel like those who have hurt or forgotten me have moved on, not caring about leaving me behind. Some days I allow that to just eat me up. 

Then God reminds me that even if for the rest of my life I never get to rekindle the friendships I had with those who moved on, I get to hang out with them in heaven. I say this with assurance because I am fairly certain that they believe in Christ's salvation just as I have. While it is so awesome that that Bible guarantees an eternal relationship with God for those who trust in Him, I believe heaven will be filled with restored friendships that were either lost or destroyed on earth. That excites me!

Unfortunately, I have a horrible habit of keeping my eyes on the past. It can be so difficult to move forward, but it is only impossible as long as we continue to look back. Learn from the past, yes. But do not remain in it. My devo today pointed me to two passages:

Isaiah 30:21
Your ears will hear a word behind you, "This is the way, walk in it," whenever you turn to the right or to the left

Psalm 32:8
I will instruct you and teach you in the way in which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you.

These verses are encouragements that the all-knowing God wants to guide us. They are a reminder to me that whenever I am lost in dwelling on my past pain, I need to forget that and focus on Christ. I need to allow Him to guide and counsel me. 

Another verse I received from a friend today:

Psalm 119:107-108
I am exceedingly afflicted; Revive me, O LORD, according to Your word. O accept the freewill offerings of my mouth, O LORD, and teach me your ordinances. 

After reading that, I see that the Lord is showing me something. I need to bring to Him what I am holding onto: the bitterness over my past pain. And I need to be receptive to learning His teachings.

God gives us opportunities to move on, we just need to trust Him in moving forward.  

Picture courtesy of Bing Images.