The book of Lamentations records Jeremiah’s response to Jerusalem’s destruction. “How deserted lies the city, once so full of people.” “In the days of her affliction and wandering Jerusalem remembers all the treasures that were hers in days of old.” “Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by?” Lamentations 1:1, 7, 12.
It was something to the prophet: bitter, mournful, decisive, final!
Something like that, though far less distressing, came from a woman in Illinois writing to Reminisce Extra, January, 2016, p 20. She had memories…the family homestead …children and gaiety, experiences gone and irretrievable…. The family had a weeping willow among the trees in their yard. Like that willow, she wept, but for the past…lost except to remembrance.
God gives us enough pleasures from the past that we enjoy visiting it. We made enough mistakes there that we don’t want to stay long. We enjoy it enough to pass through, not linger; to stay a night or two, not buy a residence.
“I believe in yesterday,” the Beatles song said. “We remember yesterday,” Christians say, but “we believe in tomorrow.” Because God wants to hear our laughter, not see our tears, he calls our attention to his coming, from his present world.
Save for Christ’s grace, we would be like the lady in Illinois, weeping over her good memories flown and vanished. Christians could grieve over the mistakes, sins and failure of the past. Jesus stands between all we did there that we now renounce; all we didn’t do and wish we had. His grace forgave everything there that didn’t meet his expectation, as it presently forgives all that presently fails to equal his perfection. Having removed it all, and buried it in the deepest trench of the deepest ocean, he forbids any deep-sea diving to retrieve them. Come along with me, Jesus urges; with me the best is yet to be!