Reflecting on the Past

January 8, 2011

by Maria Fontaine

Audio length: 3:29

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When we look back over our past and we see the highlights and victories, the joy and happiness, we also see the missed opportunities and the losses, the heartbreaks and the tears. We often feel some regrets and wish we had done this, that, and the other, or at least done certain things better.

The Lord knows exactly how each of us feels, better than anyone on earth can, because He knows our heart and thoughts. Every single one of our thoughts, including every deed, is written in His book. Also written therein are the results of our thoughts and prayers and actions—the minds that were changed, the hearts that were touched, the lives that were transformed, and the effect that we had on the people around us, and on the world itself.

Your times of giving and sharing the Lord’s love with others are like a string of pearls in the Lord’s sight, or a set of jewels that He’s fashioning into your crown of life—one that will shine as the stars forever and ever.[1]

As we reflect on our past, we should remember that we only see a small part of our past, and even that imperfectly. We see the places on our path where we got stuck, the places where the path ran out or got washed away, the steep hills that we barely made it up, and we can be tempted to wonder if we took the right path in the first place. But the Lord sees the making of a man or a woman—the depth of compassion we’ve gained, the wisdom we’ve attained, and the maturity we’ve developed through all our experiences.

Our path may have seemed like the wrong way or the long way—a dark and muddy path at times. But the Bible says that the path of the just is as a shining light, that shines more and more until that perfect day.[2] He’s promised to light the path of our future before us, as He guides us to that day when He will reconcile all things to Him (Colossians 1:20).

Dear Lord, as we reflect on life and on our past, help us to reflect not only on the things we wish we would have done differently, but also on the good that came about, even if some of it came through difficult times. Encourage our hearts to know that although we can only see through a glass darkly, You see the big picture in perfect clarity, and You see the choices we have made throughout the years to give, to live for You, to serve You.

You have taken our gifts of love, service, and sacrifice, and despite our human frailties, mistakes, and shortcomings, You have used them to make many other people’s lives better. Even if we can’t see those effects right now, we know we will see them some day.

[1] Daniel 12:3.

[2] Proverbs 4:18.