By Samuel Thambusamy
Forget what happened long ago! Don’t think about the past. I am creating something new. There it is! Do you see it? I have put roads in deserts, streams in thirsty lands. I provide water in deserts– streams in thirsty lands for my chosen people – Isa. 43:18 – 20
The ability to remember
Have you ever wondered why we are able to recognize faces, facts and figures? Have you ever wondered why we are unable to forget at least some things – our names, telephone numbers, passwords and PIN etc. These seem to be permanently etched in our memory forever. We also remember a lot of our experiences with people – places and things. The powers of human memory are incomprehensible even with all the scientific and medical advancement that we have achieved today.
What I find really fascinating is our ability to remember, recall and recognize a wide range of data that we encounter daily almost instantaneously. It is remembrance that gives clarity, coherence and sanity to our everydayness of life And then, we don’t remember everything. Thank God, we are able to forget, lest our minds get cluttered with all the insurmountable data that we gather from our life experiences. The ability to forget is as important to us as the ability to remember.
Memory – both a blessing and curse
Like most human abilities, memory is both a blessing and a curse. We are unable to forget many things that happen to us. And even if we forget, we are able to recall past events either when we need them or at the behest of any trigger event. Worse, it brings back the pain, guilt and hurt associated with the experience and worse, makes us re-live those moments. We are unable to erase painful memories, shattered dreams and horrific experiences. Pain shrinks us on the inside and when we writhe in pain we mentally replay the sequence of the painful events.
How we wish we could just forget the painful memories once for all. We all try but they just don’t go away. Some part/s of it remain beyond the realms of immediate memory and they are sure to return to haunt you at the most unexpected time. Just about anything could trigger the recall of that painful moment. Who or what can heal the hurt and the pain? Who or what can help us resolve the painful memories that constantly remind us of those painful moment?
Handling bitter memories is easier said than done. Hope is perhaps the best antidote to resolve those painful experiences. When despair surrounds us, hope breathes relief as we begin to see the possibility of a better future. History records of events where God’s words to his people breathes hope into their “dead-end” situation and provide comfort to people crumbling under disappointment, despair and defeat. In Isaiah 43: 18 –20, God speaks to his people in exile and breathes hope into their situation. These are no empty words. These are no emotional tranquilizers to lower the threshold levels of pain. God has the power to make all things new. The desert wastelands that surround us are no challenge for him. He can provide a way and help us out of the wastelands. It is Him-possible and we can take him at his word.
The road ahead in the desert wastelands
The key is to “forget” what happened. When we meet the “dead-end” it is easier to re-live the past and enter the cycle of guilt and/or self-pity. This may guarantee temporary relief but nevertheless it entraps you in a self perpetuating downward cycle of guilt and self-pity. Moreover, the constant re-living of that experience brings it permanently into immediate memory and so it becomes difficult to forget. It becomes very difficult to move on. It is extremely helpful if we learn to forgive and forget the past – and let healing flow through the invisible hurts and scars. God has given us the ability to forget and the strength to forgive. It is not only the first step but also the right step to enter into the “newness” that God invites us to enter.
God creates to a new beginning to redeem our loss. God calls his people to see a new future – and more importantly against all odds – the desert. His presence helps us to move forward and faith gives us eyes to see the “road” ahead and “streams” in the desert. He will make the way through the wastelands. He leads us into a new beginning and a better tomorrow. He creates something new…something beautiful…and it takes only a little faith to see it. We don’t have to cringe and spent the rest of the days crying. God calls his people to enjoy the “newness” he creates and sing a “new’ song of praise. We can move on for God has put roads and even provided us means of refreshment to move forward. The key is to look forward and move forward. But, make sure you leave the past behind…