No Encore

Isaiah 43: 18-19 “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?”

There’s no do-over in life, is there? As C.S. Lewis writes, “encore” is a useless word when it comes to living.

I have to confess, I enjoy ruminating over the sweet spots in life. Everything from recent events like the magical night I met my first grandchild and my son’s recent wedding to summers when I worked at Cape Cod and grad school days in Colorado. Christmases at Mom’s, shopping adventures with my cousin, women’s conferences, ski trips, Chip and I studying at L’Abri in Switzerland. Reminiscing takes me to a different place. Sometimes I’d like to go back in time and just live those experiences all over again. But I can’t.

And even if I could, I doubt it would be fruitful. Thinking too much about the “former things” can be hazardous when it keeps us from seeing the “new thing” God wants to do.

One of our favorite places is Acadia National Park in Maine. We used to vacation there every two or three years. After our kids left home and we sold our pull trailer, it seemed like our camping days were over. I couldn’t imagine going to Acadia without the kids. No way could it be as much fun! But then, a couple of years ago, we decided to go back to Acadia…just the two of us. We rummaged through the attic and found our old tent and camping gear, packed up, and guess what? We had a wonderful time! The memories of past trips enriched our visit, rather than detracted from it. God took us to an “old” place, but let us experience a “new thing.” It happened because we weren’t looking for an encore.

How about you? Do you ever get so entrenched in the good things of the past you miss both the present and the future? Do you realize you have opportunity every day to draw near to God and begin a new adventure? An adventure suited to now, not yesterday.

We ought always to be thankful for everything God has done in the past, but it ain’t over yet. So let’s not waste our time longing for an encore. Who knows but that the best is yet to come.

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