Meditations by John Dean

Monday, December 17, 2012

Remembering the Past

(Deuteronomy 8:2 KJV)  And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know...

Over the years I have learned to put a much higher value on past experiences than I did in the beginning. God uses our experiences (good or bad) to help make us into the person we were created to be.

However, at times it seems that one either desires to live in the glory days of their past or forget their past ever happened because of unpleasant memories. Such extremes could hinder one from using the past as a learning tool and from moving on and being a whole person in the present.

It is just as wrong for one to actually try to live in their past as it is for one to try to forget their past. Remembering one’s past with a healthy attitude can be a guide to living a successful life.

Even though the children of Israel disliked the thought of wondering around the desert for forty years, it was for their benefit. Everything was free, they did not have any responsibility and they were always in the presence of God…but they still did not like it.

Sometimes one has to be removed from their past in order to clearly see the value of it. Perhaps this is why the Lord said in our text, “...remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness...”

God will always use the things in our past to help build the value system in us that is needed for our future.

One of the fondest memories I have while growing up in the piney woods of East Texas was the sound of singing coming from some of those old wooden churches. Even though I would never want to go back and repeat those days, I never want to forget those wonderful days either.

For some reason the Sunday night services were the services I remembered most. I can still hear the sounds echoing from those little white wooden churches that seemed to be spotted up and down those old country dirt roads.

The attendees would usually be a few farmers, their families and perhaps those who worked in the local saw mills or other such places.

I can still hear them sing the old hymns like “The Old Rugged Cross.” This hymn in particular seemed to be one of their favorite hymns.

On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
The emblem of suffering and shame;
And I love that old cross where the dearest and best
For a world of lost sinners was slain.
Oh, that old rugged cross, so despised by the world,
Has a wondrous attraction for me;
For the dear Lamb of God left His glory above
To bear it to dark Calvary.
To the old rugged cross I will ever be true;
Its shame and reproach gladly bear;
Then He’ll call me some day to my home far away,
Where His glory forever I’ll share.
So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it some day for a crown.

Even though each of our past lives were different…I thank You for trusting us with them. Thank You Lord for taking all of our experiences and using them to mold us into the person You want us to be. I particularly thank You Lord for memories of things that touched my heart then and now like “The Old Rugged Cross.”

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