Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Phil 3:13-14 KJV).
I am working through a month long challenge wherein nearly 1700 people have committed to writing at least 500 words a day. Every day we’re given a writing prompt; some use it some do not – it is not part of the challenge to write what we’re told to write just that we write.
Today’s challenge was to write about our disappointments – a subject with which I am intimately familiar. I have not been using the prompts and I find myself uneasy about tackling this topic. However, I did intend to at least talk about some scriptures I associate with the idea so it is all kind of working out.
In the scripture I have above, Paul is nearing the end of his letter to the Philippians. Throughout this letter Paul encourages the people of Philippi to be “joyful.” A strange idea given the idea is written from prison but Paul knew his joy did not come from his circumstances nor did it come from his past or the disappointments he’d faced.
I think it is safe to say he’d faced a few.
I am not always successful at it but I have tried to take to heart the idea that Paul puts forth in the second part of verse 13, “…forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before….” The idea being that what has happened in the past is exactly that – in the past – and we need to be looking at what we can do – what God can do in the future.
I hold on to way too many of my disappointments. How many times have I longed for a way to have another crack at high school football, my time in the Marine Corps or spending more time working on my writing instead of hanging out at country bars line dancing?
That is nothing compared to some of the other “disappointments” I carry around or think about; the relationships I wish I had handled differently, jobs I wish I had kept, pursued or not taken to begin with.
Disappointments? Yeah, I got ‘em.
There is nothing that can be done about it, I just have to move on – as I said, I am not always good at letting that stuff go.
Fortunately, God is good; good at letting go, forgiving and forgetting.
He’s just good.
I have a past and I am not always proud of the choices I have made, decisions or paths but as a Christ follower I have hope that not only can God forgive me or even that he will forgive me. He can and will of course but I have another hope – a promise the writer of Romans shares, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose (Rom. 8:28).”
My hope, our hope in the midst of our worries, our struggles and our disappointments is that God can use them – he can use “all things” for good. God can take our biggest disappointment and glorify himself with it, draw us closer to him through it and reveal himself to others as a result of it.
Disappointments? Yeah, I got ‘em, but I have decided to not look back at them. Instead I choose to look forward to Jesus. I choose to look full in the face, the sweetest face, the sweat covered, blood stained, beaten, bruised buried and resurrected face of Jesus Christ.