Philippians 3:13-14 – Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (NASB)
Some folks like to talk about the "good old days" — the ones when life was tougher than Mom's free-range chicken. These stories are generally a tad embellished, like the commercial which tells of walking nine miles to school, up a hill, through a blizzard, in father's pyjamas! Other memories make life seem like fun without electricity and neighbours, and with outdoor toilet facilities.
One of my "good old days" stories happened in the first week of high school. I had come from a one-room country schoolhouse to a school with too many classrooms. I survived by staying with the crowd and following the pack. My new friend, Barbara, carried a bottle of fountain pen ink in her school pack. As we left class one day, she called out, "Brenda, help. I've spilled my ink!"
Panicked, I cried, "Leave it. We'll get lost!"
I don't remember my choice. I hope I stayed to help. Barbara is gone now. I will never know.
Our "good old days", the ones before we knew Jesus, were never great. Even now, knowing that He is with us constantly, we often make bad choices based on fear.
It's too late for the Barbaras in our lives, but we can change today. As Maya Angelou says, "When you knew better, you did better."
The essence of Paul's wise advice in today's Scripture still holds: "You're not perfect yet. Remember the goal — Jesus. Stop dwelling on your failures. Move on."
Prayer: O Father God, when we dwell on our past, we stumble and fall. Help us to accept Your gracious forgiveness for "our good old days". Help us to make restitution where necessary, and then to move on, faces and hearts resolutely forward, doing Your best in our present situation. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.