“ For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind” –Isaiah 65:17
My Beloved Family in Christ Jesus our Lord,
Our ability to remember is both a rich blessing and a terrible curse.
That we can remember the good and pleasant things from our past is one of the ways we are encouraged, motivated, and infused with joy, particularly as we serve our Risen Savior (think of all the times we are summoned by Scripture to remember the works of the Lord).
But we are also frequently plagued by those memories that are painful, embarrassing, debilitating, and even shameful. It seems that we can recall, often with photographic accuracy, our sins and transgressions of the past. The memories of yesterday’s failures haunt us as those scenes play over and again in our minds. And with each replaying there is an intensification of our feelings of guilt. This is especially wearisome when we know that our Lord has fully forgiven us, that we have long-ago repented of these sins, that we are not condemned by our Father, and that no accurate charge may be laid at our feet, given that we are accounted as righteous on account of our faith in Christ.
Yet, despite what we know and believe to be true, we are troubled by our memories nonetheless.
This brings us to our word of encouragement for this new Monday.
What Isaiah has written, as inspired by the Spirit of God, is truly amazing! Here our Father promises each of us that when we enter the heavenly City of God, the Jerusalem above, our eternal home on the “ new earth,” there will be no memory of the “ former things.”
In this verse we have a glimpse of what heaven will be like!
What we learn is that there will be some things in the life to come that we shall never remember! I would suggest that the “ former things” Isaiah speaks of here are those memories of all of our sins and transgressions, as well as the recollection of those painful consequences that have impacted our lives and the lives of others.
Just try and imagine this! When we finally arrive in our Lord’s presence everything painful, all that has resulted in our many tears of sorrow, our remorse, our guilt, our despair, and the deep pain in our souls, shall be erased from our minds for all eternity!
A simple illustration might help at this point.
A number of years ago while serving a previous Church, I was making a hospital visit to a member of our congregation who was about to undergo a serious medical procedure. I happened to be in the room with him when his doctor came by for a last minute conversation before the operation began. The doctor rather bluntly explained to my friend that he was about to do some very unpleasant and painful things to him. He said that in the middle of the procedure, he would be briefly awakened so that the diagnostic instruments might be repositioned, and that this would result in some significant discomfort. After what seemed like an unusually long pause, the doctor then said, “But don’t worry about any of this at all. We’re going to give you some medication that will essentially erase your short-term memory. You will have absolutely no recollection of this procedure. You will not remember anything that I’m going to do to you! So relax!”
The next day, I returned to the hospital to see my brother in the Lord. I asked him, “Was the doctor telling you the truth yesterday? Do you remember anything about the operation?” With a huge smile on his face he replied, “Yes, he told me the truth! It was amazing, exactly as he said! The last thing I remember was the anesthesiologist telling me to count backward from 10 to 0. Then, I awaked in the recovery room, looking up into the face of my sweet wife. It was a piece of cake!!”
I think this is a good picture of what we will all experience when we enter the presence of our great King and High Priest.
We will finally be free from the past. No more nagging accusations from our own consciences, or from the devil and his minions. No more regrets, no mourning over lost opportunities, no more grieving over our persistent sins and points of rebellion, no sorrow over what we should or should not have done!
All these terrible “ former things” shall be forever blasted out of our memories by the sight of our Lord, whose blood has paid for us, whose perfect righteousness covers us, and whose very glory and inheritance we share!
One day, the past itself will pass away! All that will remain will be the eternal present of perfect salvation and rest in the presence of the One who has loved us with infinite love.
Oh, my beloved ones in Christ, there will come a blessed day when memory will fail you! And this will be a good and grand thing indeed!
Until then, remember that you’ll soon forget! This is the promise of your Savior! And His Word never fails!
I love you all with all my heart!