Leaving the Past and Embracing the Future
“The LORD had said to Abram, ‘Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.’” Genesis 12:1 (NIV)
Taped and labeled cardboard boxes lined the hallway of our home.
In 17 years, our family of four had accumulated a wide variety of books, gadgets and miscellaneous odds and ends. Each item was attached to a vivid or vague memory of a life we would soon leave behind.
Bare walls were reminiscent of family photos that told the story of how our little family came to be.
The day we said “I do,” the births of our children and the accomplishments we achieved painted a picture of who we had become. Now the walls were just blank slates for the next family to create memories in this house.
It was bittersweet.
I felt a range of emotions: The excitement of a new beginning, the anxiety of managing details, the fear of the unknown and the sadness of letting things go all bombarded my brain at once.
Moving came with a host of unexpected emotions.
My personal move reminded me of God’s command to Abram in Genesis 12:1: “The LORD had said to Abram, ‘Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.’”
God told Abram, at age 75, to move away from everything and everyone he had ever known. So Abram “… took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Harran …” (Genesis 12:5, NIV).
This massive undertaking made my measly move look like a minor task, but it was more than a physical move that God required of Abram. God asked Abram to leave emotionally as well. He told him to leave his country, his people and his father’s household.
Leaving his country of origin included his culture, traditions and way of life.
Leaving his people included his neighbors, associations and friends.
Leaving his father’s household meant leaving his brother Nahor.
This massive operation was both physically and emotionally difficult for Abram, but he did it.
I believe what enabled Abram to let go of the past was the promise of his future. In Genesis 12:2-3, God initiated the Abrahamic Covenant that would benefit all humanity: “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you” (NIV).
Abram knew that what he was leaving behind did not compare to what he would embrace in the future. He was convinced of this fact even though he had no idea where he was going. His faith was rooted in the promise and character of God.
Like Abram, at some point in our lives, we all will be required to move. We may need to give up detrimental habits, leave a place of comfort, end unhealthy relationships or let go of harmful behaviors. Although our past may lure us with increasing temptation to stay and get cozy, if God is prompting our move, we can be confident that where He is leading is far better than what we are leaving behind.
We can trust that whatever God asks us to let go of is for our good. Just as God graced Abram to make his move, He will provide grace for us. God strengthens us to let go of the past and compels us to embrace the future.
As we place our trust in Him, we can move forward in confidence, knowing that, although we aren’t sure what the future holds, God controls all things, including our tomorrow.
It was with this confidence that I placed the last of the boxes on our moving truck – letting go of our house and all of its memories and looking ahead to the new ones we would create.
Dear God, thank You for giving me hope and a future in You. For every place where a move is required in my life, help me to let go of my past and embrace the future You have for me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Hebrews 11:8, “By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.” (NIV)
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REFLECT AND RESPOND:
In what area of your life is God requiring you to let go? How is God strengthening you to let go of the past and giving you grace to embrace the future? Share your story with us in the comments!
© 2021 by Kia Stephens. All rights reserved.
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