I will remember the Lord’s works; yes, I will remember Your ancient wonders. I will reflect on all You have done and meditate on Your actions.” Psalm 77:11
I remember when. It is a line that is heard a lot in conversation. A favorite time. A favorite trip. A favorite memory. It seems the older we get, the more we use those three words. I remember when gas was 18 cents a gallon. I remember when a Coke was 5 cents. I remember when a Whopper was 49 cents. I remember my first new car was $2,795. I remember my friend bragging that he could boil water in a paper cup and I was introduced to the microwave.
Now would be a good time to tell you that I am not 102 years old. In fact, I am, well never mind. Let’s just say not that old. The ability to remember is one of the gifts that God gave to us as humans. I can remember when I met my wife Judy–boy, was she cute. I can remember when our first daughter was born–boy, she was cute too–took after her mom. First granddaughter–yup, cute too. I remember when.
We all have those great memories. Unfortunately, we also all have those “not so great” memories. Times when we made unwise decisions that resulted in Goliath size consequences in our lives. They usually involved a split moment in time when “the want” outweighed “the wisdom” and we acted. The results were scars, broken hearts, financial disasters, and regret.
So, what do you do with this memory thing? We all can remember back before the COVID thing was a thing…when things were…normal. Want to go out and eat? Sure. Want to go shopping. Sure. Want to go on vacation? Sure. Want to go to church? Sure. Then came that long stretch when things were anything but normal. Gratefully, now, we are beginning to taste, at least, a variation of normal. But the question remains, “What do we do with yesterday? What do we do with the regrets? What do we do with yesterdays that leave us longing or weeping? What do we do with fear of the unknowns?”
Saul (aka Paul) had to deal with that. He had a long history of regrets. As a young man climbing up the corporate ladder, he made his living imprisoning people for believing in Jesus. People who followed Jesus would quake when he walked into town. It usually meant someone was going to jail. Or worse. He once stood by as a mob stoned a young man named Stephen. He nodded his approval with each sickening thud as stone met flesh.
So, what happened? He met Jesus and he was instantly and forever changed. He went from Jesus hater to Jesus follower. The only problem was people have long memories and he was a people. Every look in the polished metal mirror reminded him. Every trip to a new town carried the dread that someone would say, “Hey, isn’t that the guy?” Ever had that happen? Ever dread that happening? Well, Paul did too, and he gave us some mountain moving advice in Philippians 3:13a-14.
He wrote “This one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus.” There you go. He says “I am not going to let my past control my present or my future”. Paul accepted one amazing deal. Grace. God had forgiven him of all his messes in the past and he finally made the decision to live in grace rather than regret.
So, as we continue our journey through these days of a new different, we can long for the old days, or we can live in gratitude and grace. As memories of mistakes the size of Everest sneak their way into our present, we can sink or we can swim in His grace. As we look in the mirror, we can see what might have been or believe what God says is. The author of Psalm 77 said, “I will remember the Lord’s works; yes, I will remember Your ancient wonders. I will reflect on all you have done and meditate on your actions.”
You need to know and believe that He’s pretty keen on you. He’s not ashamed or afraid to call you His. There is never a hint of regret for His decision to let you in the family. Hey, believe that. Rest in that. He’s got you. He’s got this. Bro. Dewayne