Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Wrestling with the Past - Martin Wiles

wrestling with the past
This left Jacob all alone in the camp, and a man came and wrestled with him until dawn. Genesis 32:24 NLT

She often found herself wrestling with the past.

Some days, she felt she won; on others, she wasn’t sure. Beth was the oldest of three siblings. They grew up in a loving home, but one thing scarred her memory: the words “I love you.”

Beth could only remember her father speaking the words when she was a young girl. Somewhere along the way, he stopped telling her. But she could never remember hearing those words from her mother. Her sisters confessed they hadn’t either. Their home had a loving atmosphere, but it would have been nice to hear love and see it in action.

As adults, the siblings psychoanalyzed their parents. Although both parents grew up in loving homes, neither experienced homes where love was spoken. Beth decided before she married and had children, she would say the words she had rarely heard. She was tired of wrestling with her past.

Jacob wrestled with his past, too. He had stolen his older brother’s birthright, then tricked his father and stole his brother’s final blessing. His brother hated him and swore to kill him. He ran. Many years later—while returning to face his brother—he wrestled with God over his past mistakes.

We all have things in our past that we wrestle with. Ruminating about the misery of our mistakes or the foul atmospheres we endured does nothing for our present or future. Only as we think about what we can do differently—or avoid altogether—are our present and future affected. Beth decided she wouldn’t be a prisoner of her past. When she married and had children, she often said, “I love you.” Jacob wouldn’t be a prisoner either—even if it were painful.

Our past can haunt or help us. The choice is ours. We are who we are because of our history, but we can also change who we are because of it. There’s much we can learn from our past—positive and negative. The past is set in stone, but our present and future are pliable. With God’s guidance, we can enhance them both. A part of us is what we were, but most is what we choose to become.

Are you winning when you wrestle with your past?

Father, help me use my past to my advantage rather than allow it to destroy me.

Tweetable: Are you wrestling with your past? 

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