Forget the Former Things

I was recently visiting with someone and I asked him which church he was a part of.  Seeming somewhat surprised, he shared with me that he hadn’t attended a church in over thirty years.  He continued by sharing how he had been hurt by the leadership of the church he had been a part of.  Like many people in these situations, he reassured me that he believed in God, and that you don’t have to be a part of a church to be a Christian.
Of course I was deeply disappointed with his experience in the church and even shared that I have also been hurt by the church.  I also shared, that although not intentional, I’m sure I have offended people as well.
As I was visiting, I kept feeling this overwhelming sadness that he wasn’t able to overcome his deep disappointment, especially in light of the power of Christ’s resurrection.  See, it’s through the resurrection of Christ that we are empowered by the Holy Spirit to overcome those kinds of challenges in life.  It’s through the resurrection that we can extend forgiveness and move beyond those things that mentally and emotionally paralyze us.
I think about the disappointment that Mary, Mary, and Salome felt on that morning when they went to put spices on Jesus body, only to find his body was gone.  And how their disappointment turned into new hope when they discovered Jesus was alive.  It’s because of the resurrection that you and I also have hope. No situation is beyond redemption.  Even if it appears that all hope is gone you and I can walk by faith knowing that God is working to redeem the situation.
One of my favorite verses from the Old Testament that points to the resurrection of a brighter future is Isaiah 43:18.  “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!”  Life is full of ups and down; things we celebrate with great joy and also experiences that cause great heartache and pain.
However, may you and I be reminded that God is always faithful in the midst of both and that through the resurrection he is also getting ready to do a new thing!  So, hanging on to a past hurt? Feeling the burden of other people’s problems. Quit dragging that old dead stuff around; let it go and open your heart to receive that new thing God wants to do in your life.

Happy Resurrection Day!

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