Living with the Past - Guidelines Devotional

Living with the Past

April 17, 2018

I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.  The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. John 12:24-25

If you had the power to change something that happened yesterday, would you do it?  Of course, every one would. Yet you can no more change what has already happened than you can turn back the sun as it races across the sky or reverse the flow of sand through the hourglass of time.

Time is an ever-flowing stream that can never be turned back.  Often, though, we wish that we could do something about yesterday‑‑that something we regret which puts a blight on today.  At times, it is difficult to accept the words of the Apostle Paul, "Forgetting those things that are past...."

How do you find God's grace for today?  I'm thinking of a couple whose 6‑year‑old son was killed in a freakish accident.  While they were on vacation, the little boy crawled into the back of the camper and went to sleep‑‑a perfectly normal event for a 6‑year‑old, but what was not normal was that in the next few moments the axle of the camper snapped in two.  The vehicle began to swerve and then finally overturned.  No one was hurt except the 6‑year‑old boy who was pinned beneath the vehicle.  Frantically, they freed him from the wreckage.  At last he was out.  But by the time help had arrived, the little fellow had passed away in the arms of his father.  That was hard, believe me.  I stood over the casket of that little boy whose teddy bear was in his hand and his blanket lay beside him.

Several months later I was in the home and was surprised to hear the mother say that the company her husband worked for was really responsible for the death of their son.  "How is that?" I asked.  "Well," she replied, "we applied for a loan to buy a new truck and they got our credit mixed up with my husband's brother, and turned us down.  It is their fault because if they had given us a loan we would have had a new truck and our boy today."

Who was really responsible?  The company who got the credit report mixed up with someone else?  Shall we blame the company who manufactured a faulty axle?  Shall we blame God by saying that He could have prevented it?  Shall we blame the father who almost stopped for the night a short distance before the accident took place?

What advice would you give?  Tell them to buck up?  Or tell them to face the tragedy with stoic firmness?  We become bitter when we blame ourselves or others.  There are times when we can only turn to God to find His grace and strength and then try to live one day at a time.

If you are a Christian parent and you have dedicated your infant to the Lord, you have to remember that your child belongs to Him.  At times God lifts one of His choicest jewels from our lives to cause us to look up and keep Him in our lives.  Through the death of a child God often speaks to us.

Annie Johnson Flint is a woman who knows something of personal stress and strain.  She wrote from experience when she penned these words, "He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater; He sendeth more strength when the labors increase; to added affliction He addeth His mercy; to multiplied trials, His multiplied peace.  His love has no limit; His grace has no measure; His power, no boundary known unto men; for out of His infinite riches in Jesus, He giveth and giveth and giveth again."

In His Word God tells us, "The Lord is close to those whose hearts are breaking" (Psalms 34:18, LB).  When you face loss, remember God knows what loss is as well‑‑it was He who lost a son.  God allowed His Son to give His life at Calvary so that you might know the fellowship of our Father in heaven.  No, you cannot change the events of yesterday, but you can find God's grace to help you live with yesterday's events today.  God is not the God of yesterday, but the God of yesterday, today and forever.

Resource reading: John 12:24-36

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