Escape From Past Island

A Guest Post by Ms. April Yarber

Of all my friends who are being so generous with their time during these few weeks, donating a guest post, April is my newest fan. We are Facebook friends and have never actually met face to face. We met, as much as you can meet on Facebook because we are both Christian authors so we were in the same place. I thought a page she had was a page for promoting books. She generously has allowed me not only to post my book on her page but I now regularly post my blog on her page. She us a very supportive person and I am pleased to call her friend. I think you will like what you read this morning from April.

17 And as they brought them out, one said, “Escape for your life. Do not look back or stop anywhere in the valley. Escape to the hills, lest you be swept away.” 18 And Lot said to them, “Oh, no, my lords. 19 Behold, your servant has found favor in your sight, and you have shown me great kindness in saving my life. But I cannot escape to the hills, lest the disaster overtake me and I die. 20 Behold, this city is near enough to flee to, and it is a little one. Let me escape there—is it not a little one?—and my life will be saved!” 21 He said to him, “Behold, I grant you this favor also, that I will not overthrow the city of which you have spoken. 22 Escape there quickly, for I can do nothing till you arrive there.” Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar.

23 The sun had risen on the earth when Lot came to Zoar. 24 Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the Lord out of heaven. 25 And he overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. 26 But Lot’s wife, behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt. (Genesis 19:17-26, English Standard Version)

“Escape from Past Island,” I have been thinking about using this title for some time. It seems to fit because of the experience we have in our human condition. At some point in our lives we have had this universal experience. I chose the above picture of Alcatraz Island because it is difficult to think of a past one might desire ti escape from more.

People experience the all-consuming past pulling us in multiple various points throughout our lives. We can almost hear ourselves thinking, “Oh, those thoughts from the past.” We all have tried to or would at least like to, escape from certain situations and memories from our past. 

As we get older; the more regret can creep in. Sometimes negative thoughts and memories from days behind us flood in  if we aren’t grounded and rooted on and in the foundations of the Lord, they may start to sweep us away.

 Memories of things we’ve done, and things we haven’t done, things we should have done, things we could have done, and memories of the dreams and opportunities lost. These are the things we wish we had done. They can all come rush in with powerful intensity. This unseen but  gripping force can become so intense, it can govern our thoughts and days.

Our recall of the past is tricky. The timing, if not just right, can cause us to linger, The result can be an unknowing gift of opportunity to the enemy, who loves reminding us of past failures. We remember times when things were really good but that devolves all too quickly. Suddenly, bam in a flash, all the negative memories rush in. 

We can think about the past, but not to stay there. If we let the negative past of hurt, pain, and regret rule in our minds, it can then enter our hearts and it can consume us. Making us possibly bitter, angry, or regretful and sad. It is the place where Lot’s wife seems to be when she looks back, only to become a pillar of salt. And when the past rules our hearts the present can slip away. And then what do we miss? We miss the absolutely beautiful gift of life that present moments bring. 

Isaiah’s words remind us that God isn’t living in the past. “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” (Isaiah 43:18-19 ESV).

God didn’t make us with our heads turned backward, always looking at the past. If that were God’s plan, we would have eyes’ in the back of our heads. God doesn’t want us to recall only our troubles and hardships but to learn from them, even if the only lesson to learn is surrender. 

Our Lord Jesus wants us to keep moving forward and this is evident in His words. In Scripture, God  wants us to grow in grace, and flourish in faith. Forgive yourself, turn your head around to the front and, with God’s help, move beyond your past. Remember we are only human. 

Paul writes to the Ephesians, “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:31-32, ESV)

Proverbs 4:25 (ESV) reminds us, “Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you.” 

There is an old saying that still rings true as a reminder to find enjoyment in the moment, saying simply, we should., ” Stop and smell the roses.” That’s good advice. 

Thank God for flowers. When you are faced with powerful negative thoughts, remember within the deep recesses of your mind, Jesus loves you, you are forgiven by our Savior. It is past time to forgive yourself. When those powerful negative thoughts come your way, remember too that, powerful as they may be, our God is more powerful still. That is my prayer for you. 

Shine with love and beauty. You are a child of God. And you, my faithful friend are altogether beautiful. 

God Bless you always… 

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