Read Isaiah 43:18-19
18 “Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
19 See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland. (NIV)
Each of us can look back to a particular time and place and delight in the memories. We remember that day with that person. We recall the first time we heard a certain piece of music or read that particular book or poem. We are stirred by that situation when all seemed in its proper place and all was well with the world.
Nothing at all wrong with that. Memories are one of God’s precious gifts to us. However, they can also be a hindrance to our experience of God in the present and future. We so fondly look back to what God has done in the past that we tend to call out Encore! to him. Give us more of what we once had.
But we can never recapture the precise experience of meeting someone or seeing something. I can never again hear Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony for the first time. I can never again welcome my child into the world. And I don’t need to lament this. God has new things in store for me and for you, as our text reminds us. The people of Israel were encouraged to look for the new things God would be doing and not simply anticipate a rerun of past events.
By all means treasure our memories. But don’t let them blind or deafen us to the new things God has in store for us. Holding too tightly to the old may prevent us discerning the blessings of the new.