Meditations by John Dean

Monday, August 6, 2012


(Isaiah 65:22 KJV) They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands.

Over the years I have often wondered how the Lord was going to sort out the injustice (or at least what appeared to be injustice) of one person claiming what another person built. There was probably a time in my own life when I thought the real test for such an experience was meant for the builder and not the invader. That being the case then, in order for the builder to pass the test he must first smile and keep a good attitude about losing.

I am not sure where I got such an idea, but it is absolutely ridiculous. God never wants His children to lose…He wants them to win and keep on winning. He also wants us to fill our memory banks with victories and re-enjoy them as we go on through life. The fact is we only lose those things we turn loose of.

Our text is very clear on how the Lord feels about us living in the winner’s circle.  However, in order for us to live in the winner’s circle we must first live in agreement with God’s plans for our lives.

Even though our text does not say this, it does imply that we are to enjoy and keep on enjoying (or re-enjoy) every facet of our lives regardless of what it is.

If that is the case, then we must believe that our memories are treasures to be re-enjoyed throughout our lives, rather than deleting them if they were not pleasant. Our past experiences and memories have played a great part in building the person we are today.

However, the treasures of the past can be stolen or camouflaged by our circumstances. I realize that we are not supposed to live in the past, but we are not supposed to ignore it either. Our past plays a tremendous role in our present and our future regardless of what we may have experienced. By ignoring our past and not learning from it or not re-enjoying it means (as our text notes), We build our house and another inhabits it.

Each of us will face this “house issue” (or the past) in different ways. For example, I had never attended my high school class reunion until a couple of years ago when I decided to attend. It had been fifty or sixty years since I had seen some of those folks, and I apparently thought they would look pretty much the same way...other than a little gray hair and perhaps a few extra pounds.

I drove several hours from San Antonio to my little East Texas home town, excited to relive a moment of my past. However, it was not long before my unrealistic bubble burst and reality set in. As I turned off the main road onto the little dead-end street going down to my old school where the reunion was to be held, I immediately began feeling sad. Many of the little white wood framed houses that I had remembered were now in disarray or had been torn down.

My beautiful old school building (that was built back in the 30s) was now helplessly standing there with a fallen-in-roof and broken windows. Even though the school district still owned the property, it had been abandoned many years ago when the school built new facilities on the other side of town.

As I parked my car and looked around my old school property, everything was in disarray except for the cafeteria building. For whatever reason, the electricity was still on there, so that is where we held our reunion.

I was sure when I walked in the cafeteria that I would immediately recognize everyone, but that was not the case. I had remembered all the girls being cute; with hair in pony tails, wearing penny loafers, petticoats, and colored scarves around their necks. I also remembered the guys wearing penny loafers with their jeans rolled up (one roll to show off their socks), the sleeves of their shirts rolled up one roll to show off any muscles (they may have had), and their hair loaded with “Brylcreem” or “Southern Rose” hair oil. My favorite being “Southern Rose.”

However, what I saw when I walked through the door of the cafeteria was a room full of old people. If the men had any hair at all it was thin and gray. Their muscled bodies that once brought admiration from the girls (at least in their minds it did), were now worn and soft and needing rest.

The beautiful girls that I had remembered with pony tails, petticoats, and penny loafers were now grandmothers. Their school girl figures were gone and now their bodies revealed the results of years of child bearing, hard work and age. Their once beautiful faces were also marked with the wear and tear of living life. The wrinkles on the faces were the result of raising children and staying up at night when they were sick, keeping their home in order and sometimes even performing miracles with the family finances to stretch them to make them sufficient for the need.

However, the longer I visited some of my old friends on that unique day, the more I was able to see past the wrinkles and pain that come with life and into the eyes of the person I once knew. At that point I was then able to re-enjoy a part of my life I had allowed “another (years and circumstances) to inhabit.”

The point of this writing is, that it is the will of God that we reclaim everything we have built and lost in life and start re-enjoying them again. Never stop dreaming.

Thank You for encouraging us that we only lose the things that we turn loose of.  We are so excited about what You are giving to us today and how You are restoring back to us that which we lost from our past.

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