“Do not remember the former things… I am about to do a new thing,” says in Isaiah 43:18-19, NRSV

The picture above was a pair of shoes that served me well for many years. It traveled with me on most of my domestic and international trips. It accompanied me in doing some errands. It carried me while performing house chores, especially lawn mowing. Sadly, but with deep gratitude, I retired it and put it to rest. I am thankful for the things the two of us did together through all these years. I often think about my old, rugged walking shoes as a companion, not simply a material possession.

I have mixed feelings every time I remember my old, rugged shoes. Just like you, sometimes, I remember the former things with pleasure. We call it reminiscing, which means ‘indulging in enjoyable recollection of past events.’ Do you remember when you pleasantly indulged in recollecting events, people, and dreams? The other side of reminiscing is called rumination, which ‘involves repetitive thinking or dwelling on negative feelings and distress and their causes and consequences.’ Reminiscing and ruminating are both acts of remembering. What is the benefit or disadvantage of practicing either reminiscing or ruminating?

When you reminisce or ruminate, does it only show you the past, or is it also an occasion where you get a glimpse of the future? Do you hold tightly onto the past so much that it prevents you from moving forward? Or are the former things pushing you to move on and seize what the future holds for you?

In our act of remembering, we wrestle with former and future things. The prophetic declaration inspires us to consider taking that transition; Isaiah 43 says, “Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing.” As I said earlier, I miss my old, rugged shoes. Remembering our time together in the past inspires me to move forward with a grateful heart and great anticipation of what new days can bring.

Does your act of remembering help create a bridge from the old to the new? How do you create a bridge that enables you to cross from former things into the future with hope? What is one thing you cherish in your memories that keeps you excited about the future? May we walk humbly with God and live faithfully and with hope as we travel with God each day.

Prayer Song:

O Master, Let Me Walk with Thee – UM Hymn 430

  O Master, let me walk with thee
in lowly paths of service free;
tell me thy secret; help me bear
the strain of toil, the fret of care.

Help me the slow of heart to move
by some clear, winning word of love;
teach me the wayward feet to stay,
and guide them in the homeward way.

Teach me thy patience; still with thee
in closer, dearer company,
in work that keeps faith sweet and strong,
in trust that triumphs over wrong;

In hope that sends a shining ray
far down the future’s broadening way,
in peace that only thou canst give,
with thee, O Master, let me live. Amen.