“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. 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.”Isaiah 43:18-19
The past is the hardest to forget especially if it was traumatic. I try not to dwell in it, but it is so difficult not to when you’ve only known pain. Certain doubts are triggered by certain memories. I don’t know how and why negative feelings can lead to my childhood memories when I clearly know they have no connection. Though I know fears and doubts only have one goal, I still let myself drown in them. I am an expert at self-pity, but I also know when I am doing it. I allow myself to get into this position then I wipe myself off and rise up.
I know if I let myself stay in it for too long, I will destroy myself. The past can damage my true identity if I let it. The past can blind me from the truth of who I truly am in the eyes of God— if I let it. The failed past relationships I’ve had do not dictate my worth. God can use these doubts to overcome my battles. Just as God used Gideon’s doubts to save Israel:
“Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.” Judges 6:15
He will walk with me in my darkest past and come out victorious. I only have to listen to God and who I am to Him. God didn’t create me only to watch me destroy myself. He knows I am weak, but He also knows He is my strength.
“Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us?”
Fifteen years ago, I was placed in an orphanage in the Philippines. It was there that I was introduced to the true identity of Jesus Christ. Growing up Catholic, of course, I knew who He was. But not the way I do now. When the staff started telling me who He is and what He has done since the beginning of time, I started to ask questions. As an 11 year old, I wondered why He says He loves us and yet, I was living in poverty and now an orphan. If He really loves us, why did I have to go through what I went through?
I know how it feels to be in Gideon’s shoes. Sometimes I still ask God why I went through so much hardships in life. God may not directly answer the ‘why’s,’ but He always shows me. He shows me His power. He shows me He has never forsaken me. I try to recall the moments when He interjected at the right time. Then I remind myself the importance of faith; it means knowing God’s help will come.
I have always been curious so I don’t think I’ll stop asking God questions. Renee Swope reminded me that it is never wrong to ask God as long as it doesn’t create distance between us. It might not always mean asking for answers, but for wisdom and understanding. I have never allowed it to question my belief. I remember my high school teacher once said that if you don’t start asking about your own faith then you are not growing. Since then, I have asked myself where I am spiritually to progress and focus on God more.
I understand life is full of ups and downs. I may not always be able to understand the ways of God, but I do know He will always be by my side. At times, it may be hard to lean on Him when life is hard, but I try to remember His promises to those who love and trust Him.