“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 wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:18-19
The Lion King was a staple growing up in our house. There was a period that my brother watched it just about every day and carried the VHS around with him 24/7. He once left it outside in the rain and we had to buy a new one. That movie is full of legendary lines, but one of my favorites is when Pumbaa says, “Ya gotta put ya behind in ya past!” Timon corrects his statement saying, “It’s: ya gotta put ya past, behind ya!” This task seemed impossible to Simba, who felt responsible for his father’s death–saddest death in Disney history, just saying.
It can seem unthinkable to let go of the things behind us. It is so easy to over-analyze things we thought, said, or did in our past that we wish we could have done differently. I still feel bad about things I did when I was eight. (I’m not kidding; I found out about the family vacation to Disney World that was supposed to be a surprise because I read an email.) As humans, it’s what we do. We mess up, we fail, and we don’t let it go. It’s hard to take Timon’s advice!
Here’s what God says: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Cor 5:17). God promises to make us new. Period. There is nothing (seriously, nothing) we can do that disqualifies us. He is working on us even when we feel like scum. He is renewing even the darkest of situations. I think about the evil and injustice in this world, and I have faith that He is working. He is working in the lives of the gypsy children in Romania, even though many of them were born into the most hopeless of situations. No sin is “too sinful” for God to take care of. He has won the victory. He is constantly moving in the lives of His people.
So what? So we need to stop living like Christ’s sacrifice wasn’t enough to make us new. And I mean really, 100%, no strings attached, absolute transformation. He didn’t shove our sins in a closet, He got them out of the house, to the dumpster and hauled away. They are history. Hebrews 8:12 says: “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” We can be encouraged that the God of the universe forgives and forgets our screw-ups when we confess them to Him. He is thrilled to see us accept His grace, move on, and become more and more like Him every day.
In this season of Spring, God is renewing the earth. I am so grateful that with every choice, every step, every word, and every prayer that God is renewing me too and making me part of His story.