And those twelve stones, which they took out of the Jordan, Joshua set up at Gilgal. And he said to the people of Israel, “When your children ask their fathers in times to come, ‘What do these stones mean?’ then you shall let your children know, ‘Israel passed over this Jordan on dry ground.’ For the LORD your God dried up the waters of the Jordan for you until you passed over, as the LORD your God did to the Red Sea, which he dried up for us until we passed over, so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the LORD is mighty, that you may fear the LORD your God forever.”
—Joshua 4:20-24 ESV
I think it is a wise action to revisit the past. Perhaps not to dwell there over long but to recall for a moment.
Anyone who has been a Christian for years has a history with God. Those times aren’t always times of extreme joy. Sometimes the past holds heartache. Even so, “wisdom is justified by her children,” and going back to “mom” can remind us of what is true, good, and important.
In the ESV version of the Bible, the word remember occurs 166 times, mostly in the context of what God has done. The patriarchs were always constructing or being asked by God to construct memorial markers, so they would not forget what God had revealed to them or His mighty interventions on their behalves.
Now and then, I go back to old posts on Cerulean Sanctum, both to recall where I was and to rediscover wisdom from the past informing the present anew.
I saw an old post had gotten several hits this past weekend, so I reread “A Lesson on the Spirit from the Three Little Pigs.” I was surprised how much that old post had to say about my present and what I need to consider. I don’t think it’s a random accident that God led me back to it.
You past serves as a cistern from which you can drink today. Many people keep journals or they record their quiet times. If this describes you, when was the last time you cracked one of those dusty spiritual memoirs and read it?
Or those people who were instrumental in your earlier life? If they’re still among the living, how much would a phone call or letter to them benefit both of you?
Don’t just think about the past. Reconnect to it. You may be surprised how much the past can breathe new life into the present and create for us new directions toward the future.
“…Get wisdom; get insight; do not forget, and do not turn away from the words of my mouth. Do not forsake her, and she will keep you; love her, and she will guard you. The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom, and whatever you get, get insight. Prize her highly, and she will exalt you; she will honor you if you embrace her. She will place on your head a graceful garland; she will bestow on you a beautiful crown.”
—Proverbs 4:5-9 ESV