Hi everyone. Rob here.
On Friday I stumbled upon an invitation to a Bible College reunion that was happening the next day. I knew I had to go so, with a bit of scrambling, Kiley and I headed up to Auckland and experienced a wonderful reunion with old friends. But I almost missed it. I had seen the invitation some time before but hadn’t prioritised it enough to have it on my calendar. It reminds me that it’s so easy to overlook the important in favour of the urgent, and they’re not always the same thing. This is especially true when it comes to matters of the heart.
What made the reunion special was that we had all shared sacred time together. We had made the sacrifices necessary to study God’s word, delve deeper into God’s kingdom and experience a new kind of community. The bonds grow strong when you do that sort of thing. At the reunion the various speeches all reminded us of the higher calling that had led us there and love of God that sustained us. We remembered those who had passed. I learned that all had suffered in some way but most were persevering heroically. In the years since many had been out of sight and out of mind, and may well be again, but on this night we remembered that we were one body with one Lord. It was a good night for the heart.
We tend to think that the future is more important than the past. What’s ahead matters more than what’s behind. This is why the urgent takes over. The need to get the kids to sports, get to that meeting, get the chores done, pay the bills and so on. The tyranny of the urgent grabs a hold of us and makes the present and the future the only thing that matters. Other cultures, though, know how to value the past and walk into the future guided by what’s been. As Christians we look to the past for our identity and our hope. Christ came, died on the cross, rose from the dead and he did all this in the past. I sometimes think that we’re so focused on Jesus’ second coming that we forget the power of his first coming. His first coming won a great victory as Colossians 2:15 tells us:
And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
To gaze at the cross is to gaze into a past act that has eternal implications. All of our past impacts us right now. We live out of what we have taken into our hearts and minds from the past. If we don’t spend time looking at the past with God’s eyes, letting him interpret the words and experiences, the hurts and the joys, then we head into the future blind and struggling to live out a faith that actually works. The love, mercy and triumph found at the cross needs to be brought to bear on all that has gone before us. When we do that it is incredibly liberating.
To see with God’s eyes is to see the past, present and future as a unified whole. Looking into the past with Jesus as our guide is healthy and necessary. We want the right messages to be impacting us and the voices in our head to be coming from the right sources. We don’t want to forget sacred moments or the friends who helped us. We also don’t want to be stuck in the past. We don’t want to be caught up in sentimental nostalgia or entrenched bitterness. We want God’s eyes to see, God’s mind to interpret and God’s heart of love to comfort as we examine our lives with him.
May your past be healed, your present be joyful and your future filled with hope as you journey with Christ this week.
Grace and peace.