Here's another article from my column in our hometown paper that was published in May. I hope this encourages you today...
A sinkhole was discovered in the concrete parking lot of a local entity. The excavator who was called on to repair the hole was shocked at his findings. Digging 30 x 60 ft wide and some 9 ft down, it appeared the area may have been a burial ground for debris from the 1965 tornado. Amongst the treasures were an 8,000 lb. tree, a mangled bicycle, and a trailer hitch. Over 58 years, these items began to rot and shift, and air pockets were formed, causing the earth around them to give way, concrete and all.
A life lesson stared back at me as I stared into that big hole. Debris, buried and forgotten for 58 years, had caused considerable destruction. I imagine the farmer, who dug the hole, worked tirelessly to eliminate every reminder of that horrific day. Palm Sunday 1965 - when twin twisters ripped through our community, leaving a swath of death and destruction. He shoved the debris down into the earth and rebuilt his life.
I thought about past "storms" in my life and the destruction they've left behind. Have I buried that wreckage deep into my soul, thinking they will no longer harm me, only for them to be unearthed later? Or worse yet, do I occasionally go back to the hiding place and dig them up? The bitterness I haven't dealt with, people I haven't forgiven, unhealed wounds of broken relationships?
Can you relate? Do you have any past hurts that you've shoved down deep? The items in the sinkhole eventually wreaked havoc – will our hidden pain finally do the same in our lives? Well, I'm not a psychologist, but in my experience, anything that I have shoved down deep and not dealt with has eventually returned to haunt me. Why? Because instead of learning from it or getting rid of it, I have just stored it away in my heart for a while.
Sure, it's hard to not remember hard things that happen in life. The loss of a loved one, financial demise, beating cancer, and the list could go on. A friend once told me that she can forgive and forget but never forgets the lessons she learned from the experience. She doesn't want to. Those lessons are the fruit that has sprouted from the hurt we have planted. The lessons learned when cleaning up the debris from our personal storms is what propel us forward into a future filled with wisdom and hope.
When Israel became stuck between the past and the future, God revealed himself to them through Isaiah the prophet, giving them great hope. He says in Isaiah 43:10, "Forget the former things, do not dwell on the past. See I am doing a new thing, Now, it springs up. Do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland".
This is a great word for me as I deal with the junk I have buried and refuse the lesson it speaks into my life. Dwelling on the former things doesn't do me (or you) any good. They may cause us to sink. Let our focus be on the hope that springs eternal from the solid foundation of Jesus Christ! He is doing a new thing!