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“…I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” (Philippians 3:13, 14, NLT)
Theater critic, Brooks Atkinson, once said, “Drop the last year into the silent limbo of the past. Let it go, for it was imperfect.” Drop, let go, forget – that’s easier said than done. People, events, and circumstances of this past year—perhaps past years—continue to nag at us. Disappointments, betrayals, and losses creep into our minds to disturb the peace that God promises.
How do we move on when our spirits have been wounded, or our families disrupted?
Several words used by the apostle Paul give us clues about the process so necessary for forward movement. First there is the word “focus,” meaning to concentrate on. Instead of allowing our thoughts to meander into the morass of the past, we choose to deliberately think of the future. This in no way means denial, but rather a purposeful action involving looking ahead to what God may have in store.
What about “forget”? This word has within it the idea of neglect, e.g., giving less weight to what has happened in the past, refusing to dwell on those things that disturb our peace and threaten the future God has planned for us.
And then there is “press on.” Here I imagine a runner, surrounded by competitors, just about to cross the finish line. The race has been long, the runner is almost exhausted and she finally sees the ribbon extended across her path. Determined to win the race and knowing that any part of her body must cross that ribbon in order for victory to be declared, she stretches out her arms—she presses on.
This is not a once-a-year process, but rather a daily examination of the hours just past and the glorious future of the day ahead. The heavenly prize is definitely within reach. Let go. Press on.
Question: How has God helped you move beyond hurt and into forgiveness and freedom?