I recently heard the quote, “It’s okay to look back at the past. Just don’t stare.” Such truth! There can be much to celebrate and learn from our past, but God has not created us to live there. Time rolls on for a reason. Last week I was blessed to attend a special “rewind” service at our church. This is the only church I’ve ever been a part of, and there are a LOT of memories within those walls! This service was a flashback to the earlier days in the old chapel, complete with Baptist hymnals and choir robes, and revisiting the “old” church brought back some sweet memories.
I gripped those old wooden pews in conviction as a teenage girl, and I walked down that aisle with my dad to surrender my life to Christ. I was baptized in the old baptismal pool up front as my family all watched. I knelt at that altar on multiple occasions, pouring my heart out to God. Friendships grew, rooted in Christ, as we worshiped side by side in those pews, and my life was forever changed when a certain boy asked me on a date as we walked out of that building. I stood with my friends in graduation gowns before our church family, ready to start a new chapter in life, and stood again with friends as they married years later. I walked that same aisle in a white gown to commit my life to my love- that same boy who had asked me on that date a few years back. I laughed my way through family photos with my new husband at the front of that chapel, and just over a year later we celebrated the new life growing in my belly in the room behind the sanctuary. We stood side by side at the front of that chapel again as a family, giving our daughter to the Lord and committing ourselves to be the parents God called us to be. And, once again, new life was celebrated years later as my firstborn passed through those same baptismal waters after giving her heart to Jesus.
Yes, certainly lots of fond memories to cherish forever… times that I want to remember and share with my children. But, while it was fun to think back to those “old” times, I am so grateful that I can anticipate better times in the future! God isn’t finished yet, and He hasn’t called us to stay put. He promises us that the best is still to come. He hasn’t called us to a life of ritual and repetition and mediocrity. He calls us to new life… He calls us to grow… He calls us to push forward… and He calls us to follow Him. Our focus isn’t to remain fixed on what was, or even what is, but rather on what is yet to come… because when we surrender to His will, greater things have yet to come.