For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11-12, NIV
It is better to flourish in the future than to perish in the past. Way back in 1980, the US men’s Olympic hockey team won gold and on the way defeated the heavily favored Russian team in Lake Placid. It’s called the “Miracle on Ice.” It’s great history, but it’s just that: history. This year, gold was not won, and, to add insult to injury, the US men’s team was crushed 5-0 in the bronze medal game by Finland. While it is great to cherish choice wins, it is ours now to anticipate future accomplishments.
Some people live in the past. Some people feast on the former. Some people banquet on the by-bygone and long gone victories of yesteryear. They can’t get past their past. They relive the memories and reminisce on the recollections of days and weeks and months and years gone by. Just like rocking in a rocking chair, it gives them something to do but it gets them nowhere.
Some athletes dwell on disappointments. They begrudge a referee’s bad call or bemoan a teammate’s dropped ball. They can’t let it go. It festers and blisters and rots and rakes and molds and holds the degenerating soul in a state of atrophy. On the other side of the coin, some athletes are prone to relish the memories of thrilling turnarounds and terrific triumphs. And well they should. But the downside is that they tend to live, and only live, in the past. And if you live in the past you will perish in the future.
Some athletes will flourish in the future. They know they are building and boosting, enhancing and advancing, forming and framing all future victories, even with some current defeats. They are learning how to fail, so that in the end, they will not have failed to learn. Backwards and forwards, inside and out, on the upside and on the down low, they learn from their mistakes, so that they can teach others their successes.
If we don’t focus on our future, we will perish in our past. The Apostle Paul said “I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead. I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” Philippians 3:13-14
So press. Press on. Press now. Stop living in the past. Forget about the falls and the stalls, the trips and the slips, the oops and the bloops. Your yesterday is gone, and your tomorrow is to be determined. Look onward and forward and heavenward. Forget the former years and the former tears. One day, “God shall wipe away all tears from our eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Revelation 21:4, KJV).
We will flourish in our future, when we press past our past. Yes it was painful; yes it was hurtful; yes, it was distressing, and many times it was oppressing, but it’s in the past: it’s OVER! You’re still here and what’s coming is better than what has been; your future is brighter than your past, and your best is yet to come.