"Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing..." (Isa.43:18-19a)
Here I come again, warning against making too much of the past. This time with the prophet Isaiah. Of course, ignoring it completely will make us susceptible to the seductive trap of removing "ancient land marks" (Prov. 22:28), reducing life to a clumsy exercise of trial and error. But it is also true that the past (even if it was painful) can become a comfort zone, a measuring rod for everything that happens today. And, more importantly, romanticizing experiences in the past can end up trivializing what God is doing in the present.
It would be easy for my husband and me to reminisce our way through our declining years, dwelling on great victories we have seen in our own and others’ lives, recalling things we may have accomplished for the Lord. But if those memories prevent us from allowing God to do "a new thing" in our lives today, then those precious memories become roadblocks in our (on going) Christian journey.
God doesn't mean for us to just forget about what we have seen Him do, and cease to praise Him for His past goodness, one of Israel's great sins. But He does say in Isaiah 42:9, "Behold, the former things are come to pass [not to stay!] and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them."
I wonder; is God trying to tell you some "new things?" But are you so hung-up in the past that you just can't get there? In that case, you are in danger of stagnating and finally drying up. And what a shame to dry up spiritually when God has said in the latter half of Isaiah 43:19 that part of the "new thing" He has planned for you is "a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert."
God will not do a new thing in our lives if we’re always looking for the old things.