Posts Tagged ‘Philippians 3:13-14, Psalm 105, 1-2, Psalm 105:5, forgetting the past, remembering the past, healing of memories, revisiting the past, types of ministry, returning to ministry, King David, the Psalms ’

Jo 12I wonder if you have ever been asked to do something you thought you would never do again. Did your heart jump for joy at the opportunity you were being offered? Or did it sink a little at the prospect of revisiting something you were sure you had left behind for good?

Recently, I received two requests that sent my mind hurtling back across the years. Both instances involved a brief return to different types of ministry I have carried out in the past. And, in both cases, it was an effort for me even to consider turning back the clock and taking them on. What was God on about, I wondered. Why was I being thrust into all this again? Some family and friends urged me strongly to say no—and I realised they had a point. What was I to do?

I thought and prayed about it all, hoping God would provide someone else to take my place in both instances! I had many other things to do that were already occupying most of my time. Why give myself any extra challenges? Yet, in the end, I did not feel at peace about saying no to either request. Instead, I seemed to sense God urging me to do these things and to trust that good would result.

And that is exactly what happened for me. Through revisiting the past in God’s strength and with a heart to hear God’s voice as best I could, I learnt all over again some key lessons about remembering—and forgetting.

I remembered, first of all, how God had led and enabled me back then, even when I was so green in ministry—I remembered how little I knew, yet how God came to my rescue and, in love, ministered through me. I remembered how much God taught me in those years, stretching me and challenging me to grow. I remembered how God had brought others alongside me to inspire me, to encourage me and to walk the journey with me. I had forgotten so much of what had occurred back then—yet now, just as King David commanded God’s people to do centuries ago, I remembered it all with gratitude:

Give thank to the Lord, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done. Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts. … Remember the wonders he has done … Psalm 105:1-2, 5

Yet I discovered I found equal joy in forgetting some things from these times too—the many difficulties encountered along the way, the blood, sweat and tears involved and, above all, the many mistakes I made. Yes, I needed to remember these things first of all and to face them. But how healing it was then to allow God to lift the burden of them off me again with such love and forgiveness and to let it all go! God has brought me so far since then, freeing me to press on and do what I am doing now—and I am so thankful.

But one thing I do. Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14

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