Forget It! (Part 3)
“Shout for joy, O barren one, you who have borne no child; Break forth into joyful shouting and cry aloud, you who have not travailed; For the sons of the desolate one will be more numerous Than the sons of the married woman,” says the Lord. 2 “Enlarge the place of your tent; Stretch out the curtains of your dwellings, spare not; Lengthen your cords, And strengthen your pegs. 3″For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left. And your descendants will possess nations, And they will resettle the desolate cities. 4 “Fear not, for you will not be put to shame; Neither feel humiliated, for you will not be disgraced; But you will forget the shame of your youth, And the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more. Isaiah 54:1-4 NASB
In the text above, God promises that you will forget the hurts, the wrong, and the shame of your past. He contrasts Israel n bondage—barren and desolate—with the restored, redeemed, fruitful, and rejoicing Israel: you too can experience the same contrast, i.e., be delivered and set free from the humiliation and disgrace of your past and now be fruitful and shouting for joy, if you make a decision to forget it.
You don’t have to explain your past hurts, justify your past wrong, or defend your past shame. You don’t need anyone’s permission to forget it. Like Joseph (Gen. 41:51-52), you can be healed of the humiliation and shame, and put it all behind you as if it never happened.
Jesus said, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62). You cannot move forward looking back. A good ploughman keeps his eyes straight ahead on the furrow. A crooked furrow could spell a hit-and-miss and uncertain harvest. By analogy, this is the message in this verse: the plough speaks to me of faith and obedience; the mule that propels the plough is emblematic of the power of the Holy Spirit; and, the furrow speaks of one’s future harvest. Just like a ploughman that makes a commitment to keeps his eyes straight on the furrow, you must make a commitment to forget the past and look to the future. This is not an “almost” commitment but an “altogether” commitment.
A decision not to forget the past will prevent you from shouting for joy and crying out to the glory of God. You cannot shout for joy and give glory to God while gazing into the “rearview mirror” of past hurts, mistakes, and shame. In fact, by not forgetting, you may be hindering the very health and healing that God wants to manifest and reveal unto you an abundance of peace and truth (Jer. 33:6).
Don’t stay in a place of being fixated on the past struggling in pain of these memories. There is no gain in pain—there is no gain unless you forget the painful past. The apostle Paul understood this when he wrote to the Philippians: “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended [obtained perfection]; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 3:13-14). Don’t mortgage your present and future by living in the past; nor should you allow anyone else to keep you looking back. Just remember, God doesn’t wash our face with our past. Anyone who does is sending a message that they don’t want to be with you. Kick them to the curb!
Too much looking back will eventually take you back to a place of shame and pain of the past (Heb. 11:13-15). If you want to be happy, you must die to the misery of the past. Feel gratitude, feel joy, give thanks and forget it!