The Purpose of Your Past
The Israelites were God’s chosen people. What do you think would have happened if they had learned from their mistakes? It was nice to know that they were special to God and had His favor, yet time and time again they would turn away from Him. They liked the title of being chosen, but when things didn’t go the way that they wanted they decided that being called by God wasn’t worth it. Worshipping idols didn’t require them to change. Idols didn’t make them leave their comfort zone. Idols didn’t make them follow all those pesky customs. In fact, Idols did absolutely nothing for them other than provide them with a comfort blanket. This comfort blanket made them feel justified in their decisions. The people back in Egypt worshipped idols and nothing bad happened to them, in fact, they seemed to be living the good life.
The Israelites became so fixated on looking back, they failed to recognize the miracles that were right in front of them. They saw what they were seemingly missing out on and it made them ignore what they had. They missed the food of Egypt and ignored the miracle of the pillars guiding them through the desert.
We look at their story and likely think they were silly. Why would they want to go back to being mistreated as slaves? The answer is simple because it was comfortable there. They knew what each day would bring them, they knew what to expect. Sometimes we get so scared of taking that next step because we don’t know what to expect. We often let fear stop us from becoming the person that God is trying to call us to be.
We have all excuses. I am not old enough. I don’t come from a family that is good enough. I have school to do. We give all these excuses to God and He looks at them for what they are. A blanket that we are hiding under because we are afraid, we would rather curl up with our comfort than see the miracle that is going to happen, and He accepts them. God is not going to force you to do something that you don’t want to do but He will find some that are willing. He didn’t stop the Israelites from going back to idol worship time and time again, but He did find that one person in the crowd that was willing to step out. That person was willing to move away from the crowd and the comfort that it provided and tell the nation to turn back to God.
God is looking for that one person to step away from the things of their past, to step out from the crowd, and remember how far God has brought you. You cannot fail with the Lord on your side. God doesn’t want you to forget your past but rather to step out of its shadow. You can use it as a testimony rather than a way to rationalize yourself out of His calling. He has given every single person a story that can be used to help the lives of people around them if they are willing.
I used to be ashamed of my story. I didn’t come from the perfect family. In fact, I knew nothing about church for many years. When I did go to church I didn’t look the right way. My hair was too short, and I felt like I didn’t have the right clothes. I felt I couldn’t talk about my family because they were so different from everyone else’s. But as I began to grow in God, I learned that my past couldn’t be used as a crutch. None of these things were excuses for me not to be used in God’s kingdom. In fact, it was the opposite. My past and my testimony was a tool for God to use. It opened doors for me to be able to connect with people that were hurting and broken. My story allowed for those that felt lost and alone to find comfort.
The purpose of the past is to grow, to grow within yourself. You can take the lessons that you learn and apply them to your life so that you don’t keep making the same mistakes. You can grow in God and use the trials you went through to build your relationship with Him. You can also grow in your ministry. You have a story that can help minister to the people around you. Stop making excuses as to why you can’t move forward. Take that leap of faith from your comfort zone. God will be there with you every step of the way.
Akilah is currently an English Major at Arizona State University. She has taken courses in journalistic writing, studying the writings of classical works, as well as the way that languages are used throughout different cultures. In addition, She currently writes lessons for her job, Sunday School class, and personal writings such as poetry and short stories.