Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Portals of History

"Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland." Isaiah 43:18-19

I will always remember the family vacation we took to Washington D.C. several years ago. I remember walking through the Capital building and gazing in wonder at the murals painted on the walls, ceilings, floors----the entire building was a colorful picture of the history of our nation. If a child went in not knowing history at all, he would walk away fully aware of his ancestry. He didn't even have to read a word: the history could not be avoided; it was painted boldly for all to see in pictures that made everyone stare unashamedly.

Sometimes when I read "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past..." I feel shamed. The history of my walk with Christ is painted on the portals of my mind, and I am not proud of much of it. When Paul said "Christ came to save sinners, of whom I am worst.." I am pretty sure he was talking directly to me. Satan likes to take me through the halls of memory and point out all my mistakes--some that make me blush and hide my eyes in shame. "How could you do that?!" he sneers. "You claimed HIM in your life! You said you wanted to follow Him, and yet you still did that!" He points to all the mistakes--all the sins--all the deceit--and laughs in glee when I fall in shame. The weight of my sin lays heavy on me so the effort to rise seems impossible. How can I "forget the former things and do not dwell on the past?"!

The sins of my past are painted on the walls and ceiling of my memory--and it makes the scene dark, dismal, and a path that haunts me. But praise the Lord that Isaiah continued: "See, I am doing a new thing!"
Don't you love the exclamation?! There are few times in the Bible that such a punctuation mark is used. I am an English major--the sight of such bold emotion makes me stop and reread....many times. Can you hear the excitement? The urgency? The passion? "SEE! I AM DOING SOMETHING NEW!!!!" Oh the hope this stirs in me....He didn't just tell me to forget the sins that shame me--but He promised to do something brand new. I don't know about you, but I need something new....

So there I am, crumpled in a heap in the halls of memory with my sin painted in vivid detail all around me. I can't look up and I can't do anything about the history that covers my head, surrounds my shoulders, and is ever in my sight. But that's when I smell fresh paint. When I look up, the sins are being covered by a coat of red paint--drawn from Emmanuel's veins. He "makes a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland..." (vs. 19). The sins are covered where none can look on them. They are forever burned in my mind, but when I look for those murals all I can see is His blood. I don't know how I totally forget the sin of the past like He does... "I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions, for My own sake, and remembers your sins no more" (Isaiah 43: 25). I don't think I will ever forget the past. But when I am tempted to dwell on the mistakes of yesterday, I have to remember that Christ died for my sins--past, present, and future. If I hold on to them, walk in them, or dwell in the shadow of their shame, I cheapen the price He paid. I don't know how to move on sometimes, except by taking the scarred hand He offers and take it one step at a time.

I am being refined these days--refinement can be painful...but in the end He will receive glory.

Because He lives,


Crash said...

Sarah, you have no idea how much I needed to read this tonight. Thank you.

Becky Dietz said...

Good word, Sarah!! I think we need to take Jesus' hand and walk those halls with Him and see what He sees. I think we'd see the things we've learned along the way.

Deanna said...

This was my "aha moment" for today:

You wrote, "I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions, FOR MY OWN SAKE, and remembers your sins no more"

...for His own huge it's hard to grasp

Thank you Sarah.