One thing I’m learning about my rear view mirror; albeit, rather slowly and painstakingly. You can’t drive into the future focused there. Rear view mirrors are only designed for an occasional glance to keep your bearings sighted for a more successful journey into the future. All this backing into the future has been a bumpy ride, to say the least.
The most remarkable facet about the past is just that! It’s the past: or is it? An old proverb; or is it a wives’ tale? Says “he who has one foot in the past and the other foot in the future is sure to have a painfully herniated present.” Wise saying! Actually, to be truthful, I just made that up. But it sure can feel true! Do you sometimes feel like your present is a painfully herniated collision of past unresolved stuff and a foreboding fear that the future is just going to be repeated; once again? Life seems like a déjà vu, time loop.
Well then, do I have good news for you! And it’s not that hind’s sight is twenty -twenty. While we can and occasionally do learn from the past, it is not a predictor or even a hint of what the future holds. Sorry to ruffle your religious feathers, but; history does not repeat itself. Only the Will and Kingdom of our God and His Christ marches forth into the sure future of His Eternal Benevolent Reign!
You, I, politicians, tyrants, dictators, despots, self-proclaimed prophets nor the devil have say over the past, present or future. The father of lies would have us paralyzed by his smoke and mirrors. He seeks to steal, kill and destroy from those who fall for his message of shame. His message of shame says; you should or shouldn’t, you are doomed to fail or repeat your failures, you are just flawed and less than all others and despairing of any real hope.
The devils shame message is only a self-full-filling prophesy for him-don’t put your faith there. Don’t! Stop believing him! He’s a liar! Remind him of his future every time he reminds you of his version of your past! Stop the shame message of ‘shoulding’ on yourself. Satan presents your ‘rear view mirror’ as a hopeless perspective of a doomed and failed future!
What are the true lessons of our rear view mirror-the past? The repeated theme of scripture is that the past reminds His people of His personal intervention and help in their present and future! Wow! That’s a far cry from what Satan would have us believe. Consider the following example in 1 Sam. 7: 7-17 (The Message).
7 When the Philistines heard that Israel was meeting at Mizpah, the Philistine leaders went on the offensive. Israel got the report and became frightened - Philistines on the move again! 8 They pleaded with Samuel, "Pray with all your might! And don't let up! Pray to God, our God, that he'll save us from the boot of the Philistines." 9 Samuel took a young lamb not yet weaned and offered it whole as a Whole-Burnt-Offering to God. He prayed fervently to God, interceding for Israel. And God answered. 10 While Samuel was offering the sacrifice, the Philistines came within range to fight Israel. Just then God thundered, a huge thunderclap exploding among the Philistines. They panicked - mass confusion! - and ran helter-skelter from Israel. 11 Israel poured out of Mizpah and gave chase, killing Philistines right and left, to a point just beyond Beth Car. 12 Samuel took a single rock and set it upright between Mizpah and Shen. He named it "Ebenezer" (Rock of Help), saying, "This marks the place where God helped us." 13 The Philistines learned their lesson and stayed home - no more border crossings. God was hard on the Philistines all through Samuel's lifetime. 14 All the cities from Ekron to Gath that the Philistines had taken from Israel were restored. Israel also freed the surrounding countryside from Philistine control. And there was peace between Israel and the Amorites. 15 Samuel gave solid leadership to Israel his entire life. 16 Every year he went on a circuit from Bethel to Gilgal to Mizpah. He gave leadership to Israel in each of these places. 17 But always he would return to Ramah, where he lived, and preside from there. That is where he built an altar to God. (Emphasis added)
Father also nurtures His children in their rear view mirror as a way of warning and teaching them from the mistakes of all previous generations. Immerse your future in 1 Cor. 10: 1-14 Msg.
1 “Remember our history, friends, and be warned. All our ancestors were led by the providential Cloud and taken miraculously through the Sea. 2 They went through the waters, in a baptism like ours, as Moses led them from enslaving death to salvation life. 3 They all ate 4 and drank identical food and drink, meals provided daily by God. They drank from the Rock, God's fountain for them that stayed with them wherever they were. And the Rock was Christ. 5 But just experiencing God's wonder and grace didn't seem to mean much - most of them were defeated by temptation during the hard times in the desert, and God was not pleased. 6 The same thing could happen to us. We must be on guard so that we never get caught up in wanting our own way as they did. 7 And we must not turn our religion into a circus as they did - "First the people partied, then they threw a dance." 8 We must not be sexually promiscuous - they paid for that, remember, with twenty-three thousand deaths in one day! 9 We must never try to get Christ to serve us instead of us serving him; they tried it, and God launched an epidemic of poisonous snakes. 10 We must be careful not to stir up discontent; discontent destroyed them. 11 These are all warning markers - danger! - in our history books, written down so that we don't repeat their mistakes. Our positions in the story are parallel - they at the beginning, we at the end - and we are just as capable of messing it up as they were. 12 Don't be so naive and self-confident. You're not exempt. You could fall flat on your face as easily as anyone else. (and I have more times than I want to count) Forget about self-confidence; it's useless. Cultivate God-confidence. 13 No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he'll never let you be pushed past your limit; he'll always be there to help you come through it. 14 So, my very dear friends, when you see people reducing God to something they can use or control, get out of their company as fast as you can.” (Emphasis added)
So maybe the past is potentially our best friend. That may be a bit strong. Let’s just say; ‘the past, present and future’ are all to be experienced simultaneously, by faith, as a Message of Grace. When we glance into the rear view mirror we see prominent prophetic markers of forgiveness and mercy steering us into a present of Grace and a future of shared Glory!
This is poignantly portrayed in Romans 8:31-39 Msg.
31 So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? 32 If God didn't hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn't gladly and freely do for us? 33 And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God's chosen? 34 Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us - who was raised to life for us! - is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. 35 Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ's love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture: 36 They kill us in cold blood because they hate you. We're sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one. 37 None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. 38 I'm absolutely convinced that nothing - nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, 39 high or low, thinkable or unthinkable - absolutely nothing can get between us and God's love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.
This may be noteworthy: you don’t see the word ‘past’ in that entire passage. Could it be that the past message of shame that Satan continually touts us with is already dealt with in God’s un-ending, magnanimous, undeserved love? You see, Jesus has already gone to the cross for us; past, present and future! He is ever interceding for us; past, present and future, as the risen and glorified Son of God at the Father’s right hand of Mercy and Grace! We who have received the forgiving, cleansing, all powerful work of Calvary, by faith in Christ, share only His past, present and future!
Maybe that Good news will prophetically propel you into the best 2016 possible! Your only job in 2016 is to be loved more than you were in 2015. That will make you more loving in 2016 than you were in 2015. I think 2016 is looking like the best year ever!
In the grip of the Message of Grace in 2016! Ron Ross