"Truly God is good to the upright; to those who are pure in heart. But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled; my steps had nearly slipped."Psalm 73 gives us a great example of someone who knows the truths about God and speaks those truths with their mouth but has to go through a difficult journey to finally come to a place where they can speak those words with assurance and hope. Reaching a place of hope in Jesus that we can pass on to those we hope to reach takes struggle and examination of our journey in relationship with God.
Reaching who we once were makes a few assumptions:
- It assumes we know who we were in the past. This takes self-reflection and spending time thinking about our past. What was I like, why was I like that, what brought me there, who influenced me? These questions are not always easy to answer and can sometimes bring up painful memories. We have to find a way to look at these questions and it may take the help of others. Our idea of who we were may be different from those who were watching us at the time.
- It assumes we have noticed the different seasons of our lives. When I was young I was the preachers kid with the right answers who lived the way people thought he should. This is a surface analysis and has many layers to peal off but that is one time in my life. I have also been the confused and directionless young adult who flunks out of college because he parties too much while living a double life with his friends and his family. Another very complex season but different from the previous seasons of life. They are different but also intertwined. What caused the different seasons, who was influential during those times, how did I get from one to the next, how did faith and God's love play into all of these seasons?
- It assumes we have changed and hopefully changed for the better. Helping those people we once were assumes we are not the same people we were then and that we are on the path to a better life through the grace of God. Helping those who are where we once were requires examination of our current life. This may be the toughest of all of the assumptions because we all like to think that we have learned from the past and are now better for those lessons. But this is not always the case and we may need to have others we trust show us ways we have grown as well as ways we could still better our relationships with God and with others.
"Indeed, those who are far from you will perish; you put an end to those who are false to you. But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, to tell of all your works."
Psalm 73. 27-28