At least 20 years ago, I was told by a wise man that it is not healthy to look backwards, but instead to concentrate on what God is doing right now and to get His vision for the future.
With all respect to that man, I now believe that this is incorrect. Sure, it doesn’t do any good to dwell in the past, in the ‘good old days’ where everything was supposedly rosy. But, in fact, it is an extremely Biblical concept to look back and rejoice in the things God has done for you in the past.
There are countless references in the Bible where the reader is encouraged to thank God and give Him praise for the things He has done.
“One generation will commend Your works to another” (Ps.145:4)
“These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go to the house of God under the protection of the Mighty One, with shouts of joy and praise among the festive throng” (Ps.42:4)
“My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you….” (Ps.42:6)
“I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago” (Ps.77:11)
And that’s just a few from the Psalms….the Bible is chock full of such examples.
Last week, God showed me that I should indeed look back and remember the things He has done for me in the past. And then about five minutes later, our vicar’s sermon said exactly the same thing.
Look back and see the depth of the foundations you have in Him. Remember the things He’s done because of His goodness and His love for you!
It’s entirely healthy to remember God’s goodness to you. Because what He has done in the past forms the basis, not only for who you are today, but for the mighty acts He will perform again today and in the future.
In fact, the entire Gospel is based on our looking back at events that happened some 2000 years ago. Looking back is key to realising our foundations, our security, and the solidity of the Rock upon which our faith is built. If your roots go deep into God, and your faith is founded on a history of God’s goodness, then your faith will be secure and strong irrespective of the storms that life may fling at you.
This is one major reason, I believe, why my website Vintage Worship Tapes is so popular. People of my age can download the worship songs from their youth, songs that defined their growth in the Faith. The songs serve to remind them of God’s goodness and all the great things He did back then, things He has done since and things He is doing *right now* in their lives. Vintage Worship Tapes has been key to my remaining stable and full of faith despite the dreadful circumstances we find ourselves in at the moment. Because we can look above the problems and keep our eyes fixed on Him, the problems recede into their rightful place in our lives. And that depends on ‘remembering’ God’s goodness in the past and applying it in the today, in our circumstances right now. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever” (Heb.13:8)
Gratitude and thanksgiving are the natural progression of looking back at God’s deeds on our behalf. And the foundation of that thanksgiving provides God with a platform upon which He can rebuild even the most shattered faith. As you begin to remember His works, and to thank Him for them, your heart will begin to lift up and fill with praise. Thanksgiving is a mighty weapon which can and will transform the very circumstances you find yourself in.
So please feel free to look back – in fact the Bible positively encourages it!