“Mommy, I found a roly poly bug. It’s dead! I want to keep it as a pet!”
“You can’t keep it as a pet. It’s dead!” I told my 3-year-old.
“But I want to show it to everybody!”
During this conversation I was reading Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest. He writes, “Beware if in sharing your personal testimony you continually have to look back saying ‘Once, a number of years ago, I was saved.’ If you have put your ‘hand to the plow’ and are walking in the light there is no looking back.”
It’s so tempting to live in the past gazing on it with rose-tinted glasses remembering selectively the good times as better, easier or less confusing than the current state. I’ve noticed a tendency in myself to exalt such periods so that nothing in the present could possibly measure up to my slanted memory.
This is true especially in times of spiritual drought. I think back to the last time I felt close to God, more at peace, more alive. I try to conjure up good feelings about God and myself by doing good things or contemplating the last thing I remember that made me feel something. But doing that is like expecting yesterday’s meals to provide the sustenance I need for today. It only lasts for so long. If anyone goes on like that day after day depending on last week’s resources, they’ll become weak and eventually die.
I’ve never been more aware of my lack of resources than when I find someone else in need of refreshment, and I have nothing more to offer than my dead bugs. “Aren’t they lovely?” I ask. I know they’re dead, but once they were alive and man they used to move. You should have seen them then. Oh, the things you could have learned!” I know kind of gross. Time has allowed rot and decay to set in, and now only the shell of life remains, the memory of what once was.
"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.” John 15:1-7
God doesn’t want us to live in the past. He wants us to grow from it as he cuts away the DEAD things that inhibit our growth. It’s exciting to think that He has something new and ALIVE for me today. I need only stop, ask and listen. I’m curious and expectant to see what he has in store. I just hope it doesn’t involve bugs.