Stop romanticizing the past

June 25, 2020

Over the last week, I’ve been studying the book of Exodus and by chapter 14, a lot of interesting stuff has gone down. Moses has stepped into his calling from God with Aaron by his side. God has placed Moses as the frontrunner for leading the people of Egypt out of slavery. There’s been 10 plagues. And finally, after much hard-heartedness, Pharaoh has released the people into Moses’ hands and they have begun making their journey out of Egypt.

And right here, a plot twist occurs.

Pharaoh changes his mind and decides to go after the people who are already on their way into the wilderness. He comes after them with weapons and chariots and a full army. And the people are shaking with fear. They’re freaking out. They’re complaining.

“Why, Moses, why?! Why bring us this way if it was all for nothing?!”

They say to Moses, “We should have stayed in Egypt. It would have been better if we stayed.”

Nothing about their decision to leave had changed from one day to the next.
What changed was their circumstances. Life went from hard to harder before it became better.

When circumstances get hard or lonely or uncomfortable, it is easy to switch on the part of our brains that romanticizes the past. We start believing that what we willingly walked away from, or were removed from wasn’t all that bad. I’ve done this so many times in my own life. 

“It wasn’t that bad. “

“I had it good back then, I just didn’t see it.” 

“I want to go back.  “

But look closer, friend. Look at how Moses responds when the Israelites cry and when they want to go back to Egypt, back into slavery.

“Do not be afraid. Stand firm and watch God do His work in you and for you”

In response to all the “I want to go back” feelings, the answer from God is better than that: Don’t be fearful of what the future holds.

“Just because you cannot see it does not mean there is goodness up ahead. I have better for you. Just stand firm in your decision and let me work it out in you.”

If you are going through the thick of it today and you want to turn back, I need you to know that you are meant to keep pushing forward.  

The rearview mirror is tempting but you willingly walked away and you were sure when you made that decision. Nothing about the decision has changed, only the circumstances. Stand firm in the decision you made and keep walking forward, through the wilderness.

You will get to the other side.

You will experience the sweet after the bitter.

You will understand one day why God pulled you from that relationship or that job or that perceived promise.

One day, you will understand. But for this day: keep moving forward. Through the uncertainty and through the mud. Don’t be afraid – He’s got you and He knows where you are on the map.

You’re not lost, friend.

He’s made a way.

Don’t quit.

Say not, “Why were the former days better than these?” For it is not from wisdom that you ask this. - Ecclesiastes 7:10
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